Creating Minimal Design
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Meet Kamo Mafokwane, The Influencer and Entrepreneur Celebrating African Culture Through Design with “Naia”
Kamo Mafokwane is a South African influencer and entrepreneur who founded the design and decor studio “NAIA” in 2020. With a background in creative direction for fashion and a passion for design, Kamo created NAIA as a brand that celebrates minimalism and global craftsmanship in design to inspire and elevate hearts and minds to live intentionally through design. Kamo and her team believe in creating luxury contemporary spaces that are minimal yet functional, blending comfort and style seamlessly.
Through her social media presence and entrepreneurial ventures, Kamo has become a prominent figure in the South African fashion industry and a role model for aspiring young entrepreneurs. With a focus on sustainability and ethical practices, NAIA has quickly gained a loyal following and continues to make waves in the fashion world.
The JOURNAL sat down with Kamo, an IWC friend, for a chat during this year’s Watches and Wonders.
— Kamo Mafokwane wearing the Portofino Automatic 37 Ref. IW458102
NEUTRAL WITH A POP
Which watch are you wearing today?
I’m wearing the Portofino Automatic 37. I really love the black strap because it goes with everything in my closet. I think it’s really easy to style from casual to formal. It’s also a very classic watch. The dial has a little bit of a metallic tone to it, which is really cool because it can elevate the look very much.
How and when did you get interested in watches?
When I graduated from university, I got my first watch that was engraved. That was a very special moment for me. In our family, we always believed in gifts that pass on from generation to generation. So, that’s something I would give on to someone in my family many years later. That’s how I got interested in watches. Since working with IWC, I have learned so much more about the brand and craftsmanship, and that’s definitely my favorite thing about watches.
How would you describe your style?
I would describe my style as very clean, minimal, sometimes a little bit of fun color, but mostly neutral colors. That’s something I have always gravitated towards because it’s easy to switch and you can wear different elements at any time.
With my watches, I love to go with something that is very stand-out-ish. Something that’s very bold
REDEFINING SPACE PERCEPTION
How do you match your watches with your style?
I love to draw attention to the watch I’m wearing or any jewelry details. So, I will usually style my watch with very minimal looks and classic looks. With my watches, I love to go with something that is very stand-out-ish. Something that’s very bold. Accessories are things that should always stand out - especially when your style is minimal.
What was your motivation to open your own design brand, “Naia”?
I have been into spatial design from really young age. My motivation around it was to trigger an emotion, to explore young people who are in the industry and that are really passionate about creative design. To bring these innovative minds together to create something completely different. With my brand, I really want to change the way people think about spaces.
What is your key to success?
I definitely would say “time”, believe it or not. I think timing is everything. And also trusting that for every significant moment in your life, there’s a specific time for it. But I also think being dedicated to something you’re really passionate about will always take you far in life. Also, sticking to your values because it means that you know who you are. You’ll never do anything that doesn’t reflect or align with what you believe in.
— The founder of NAIA visiting the IWC Booth at Watches and Wonders 2023
— Kamo Mafokwane wearing the Portofino Perpetual Calendar IW344601
KNOW YOUR WORTH
What advice would you give to young girls seeking the same profession as yours?
My best advice is to always know your worth - in business, in your personal life, and in everything that you do. By doing that you will always succeed in some way or another. Always know your worth and don’t be shy about it!
At what point in life would you have stopped time?
That is such a good question! I think there are so many moments in my life that I would stop. But on the other hand, the most important thing is just to be more present in life. By being present, I wouldn’t stop at any point because it means that every moment I’m collecting beautiful memories. When I look back there’s so many collective memories that I’ve made that I would like to keep forever.
What would you like to have more time for?
Rest! (laughs) I would really like to have more time for rest. More time to travel and explore different cultures. Design in different countries. That for me would be the most amazing thing to have more time for. But most important would be for me to rest because when we rest, we’re able to be the best of ourselves that we can be.