As a conscious accessory brand, Isu is inspired by the traditional craftwork and ancient art form associated with African beading. At Isu, we work on introducing Zulu craftsmanship to a modern audience, with a colourful twist of our own. Each of our pieces is handcrafted by a team of women across a handful of communities from the South African Valley of a Thousand Hills and KwaZulu-Natal regions.
Our collections are a combination of tribal weaves, contemporary elements and vibrant colour-ways. Our pieces tell stories of our land through design and colour. Wearing an Isu item is a powerful means of adornment, something that you instinctively feel the moment you fasten it on.
Our mission at Isu is to empower women to create, whilst enabling the development of others through teaching and support. Isu, meaning Methodin Zulu, is what we focus on nurturing within our teams. We nurture existing & historic skills by encouraging the continuation of traditional beading, along with the teaching of these skills to others. Our focus is to hold this traditional art-form sacred and celebrate it thoughtfully and collaboratively.
Isu runs as a social enterprise project. Net profits are put back into the enterprise to grow the team and provide more work for women beaders each season.
At Isu we produce in small numbers. Each unit is unique and hand-beaded with glass beads and cotton string by one of our talented women beaders.
Our beads are bought from local suppliers in KwaZulu-Natal South Africa, which means that there are sometimes slight variations in our colourways. We embrace this process and encourage our team to work with materials which are readily available to them. It is important for us to keep trade as local as possible.
Isu adopts a made-to-order process and ensures that nothing goes to waste. Pieces that are not sold are broken down for the beads to be re-used in future collections or gifted to the Isu team.