How Vincent Urbain founded urban africa
Since his childhood, Vincent Urbain had always been attracted to leather and handmade work. Born in Belgium, he graduated in Economics & Finance and decided to move south.
Vincent, a water fanatic, landed in Cape Town in 2003 where he wind-surfed and undertook different jobs. One of which was distributing rough handcrafted leather sandals, made by Tanzanians crafters on top of the Cape Town train station.
Soon Vincent realized that, more than distributing, he wanted to explore the intricacies of the world of leather and having some spare time, he started to first make a shoe from hide, it took him 3 days and 3 nights. Completely self-taught and hungry to learn, he then moved onto a bag, then an armband …
Moving from hides to leather, the range started to define itself and in 2005, urban africa was born: minimalistic, elegant, funky, timeless in design, trendy, understated but aspiring.
The 2013 range consists of more than 40 pieces. The range is designed by Vincent, Reanne Urbain, Jessika Balzer and all the pieces are individually handmade by Vincent & his team. No two pieces look the same.
urban africa today
Since January 2013, urban africa already launched the Takeme, the Super Takeme & the Ipad mini sleeve & case. Every second month or so, a new piece gets created and becomes a part of the range that is constantly evolving.
As a brand, urban africa is environmentally conscious. In 2010, we dropped the lining for most of our pieces. These have become lighter, softer; glue is nearly non-existent & the leathers now breathe better and are more flexible. We are also accumulating off-cuts and because we don’t waste, we are using them in the range for our Shark Keyrings that we give to our clients and for a multitude of other pieces.
Recently, urban africa opened its shop, workshop, open kitchen style, in October 2012 in the booming Woodstock Exchange, next to the Biscuit mill, Cape Town.
Vincent Urbain also developed Afrographic, which employs women in Khayelitsha, one of South Africa’s biggest townships, to handstich the little Big 5 animal keyrings that he sends all over the world. It is for him a way to give back to the Community.
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urban africa is specialized in custom made designs, which means that you can suggest your own original ideas to us and that you are free to choose the leather, stitching and rivet colour that you prefer for any leather piece.
After choosing a piece of the range please choose your:
- Leather color
- Stitching color
- Rivet color
- Lining (if applicable)
Choose the leather colour that you prefer for your piece:
Form left to right black, tan, chocolate brown, mustard, purple, navy blue & stone wash blue.
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