After a fulfilling career in fashion retail and development spanning 22 years, Amanda du Plessis launches a homeware collection at the prestigious Rooms on View in Johannesburg in May 2010. Sumari Krige, the founder of Rooms on View, selects the first collection to be represented in the South African house section. Evolution launches a collection of jacquard fabrics, school chairs with painted local narratives, knitted throws, cushions, pouffes, and large-format digitally printed panels, all inspired by Amanda's family history and rooted in the desire to develop products with local narratives.
The collection — Chaos to Calm — is also Inspired by TS Elliot’s poem “Little Gidding”:
“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
In August 2010 we launch our complete jacquard range, including the Heritage School Textiles range and the Soul range celebrating Ghanaian Adinkra symbols. The jacquard assortment is developed in conjunction with Tie Weavers and Home Fabrics South Africa.
The start of a blessed journey.
OUR FIRST EXPORTS
The launch at Rooms on View is well received and we are approached by Trevyn McGowan, founder of Southern Guild — a sourcing agency in South Africa — to supply Anthropologie with a selection of our painted school chairs. A dream come true!
Our chair assortment is also nominated by Jacquie Chemaly for the Visi New Designer Award. The range was developed in conjunction with creative genius Elizabeth Pulles, who helped us convert narratives from our youth into visuals on old school chairs.
OUR FIRST EXHIBIT AT MAISON ET OBJECT
Christina Ilzarbe, founder of Danyé in Spain, approaches us to showcase our products at Maison et Objet. This is our first exposure on the internationally recognised platform, and so begins our distribution in European countries.
Our school chair range evolves and is showcased locally in Poetry stores.
WORKING WITH SOUTH AFRICAN ARCHIVES
Evolution introduces its first archival collection inspired by South Africa’s visual history.
A textile range honouring the inspirational story of Lucy Loyd, South Africa's first female PHD graduate, is created. Lucy worked with William Bleeck, who was researching and recording the Khoi and San language in 1880. In the process three young boys, !nanni, Tamme and Da, assisted them and created a range of prints to explain the language. This provides further inspiration to communicate our country’s visual history via textiles.
Mr Price Home’s brilliant creative director Yanni Vosloo approaches us to create a Colab range. We launch the range on the birth date of Nelson Mandela, embracing our heritage and honouring the many different cultures in our country.
An exclusive collection of homeware is developed for Weylandts, one of South Africa's best homeware retailers. This is a true privilege and the start of a partnership for the following seven years.
We evolve our offer to include machine embroidery and non-toxic digital printing on 100% linen.
We exhibit our Desert Diaries collection at Design Indaba, and our products are selected for Li Edelkoort’s beautiful Africa stand.
OPENING OF THE COLLECTIVE AT THE WATERSHED
Launching our store in the Watershed at the Waterfront, Cape Town, we collaborate with three other like-minded brands and call the space The Collective.
A new collection — the Magic Veld — is launched at Design Indaba.
We showcase our Desert Diaries range at 100% design in collaboration with Murrae Stephens of Coral Stephens. The collection receives the Best New Textile Award.
After the successful collaboration with Mr Price Home in 2013, our second Colab collection is launched.
Evolution is selected to be part of the CBI export readiness programme, funded by the Netherlands Department of Trade and Industry — an incredible honour. On the advice of the programme mentors, Solly Levy and Irene Vermeulen, we evolve our offer and ensure we adhere to international trade requirements. We also reduce our impact on the environment by using non-toxic printing and dying techniques and making sure that all our raw material adheres to international standards of responsible and sustainable production.
LAUNCH OF NEW RANGES
Our first collaboration with SANBI — the South African National Biodiversity institute — starts with the discovery of Thomas Blagrave’s Sun Prints book, dating back to 1880. An incredible collection of original sun prints of ferns is recreated into a range of textiles to celebrate South Africa’s botanical visual history.
We continue working with Museum Africa in Johannesburg, where we discover an inspirational selection of South African heritage textiles, with some dating back to the 1600s. The Varied Origins collection evolves, embracing the textiles that together make up a quilt of our different cultures.
We collaborate with the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and create a range of textiles inspired by visuals never before seen In South Africa, drawn and painted around the Cape in the 1700s.
DEVELOPING OUR LINEN LOCALLY
We embark on a journey with one of our local mills to create the perfect base cloth for our digital prints. Svenmill creates a quality fabric using linen yarns that are spun at the Herdmans plant in South Africa.
We launch our first collective exhibition at Maison et Object as part of the CBI-selected group of designers from South Africa.
We exhibit at 100% design for the second time, where we are awarded the Best Textile Award for our cyanotype sun-printed textiles.
An inspiring year leads us to develop a range honouring our country’s vast grasslands and the importance of the species in our biosphere — the Swerving Savannahs collection. This leads us to discover other unsung botanical heroes, like mosses, and the Rapturous Ravines range evolves. A busy and creative year.
LAUNCH OF OUR COMMEMORATED LITHOGRAPHS COLLECTION
The discovery in the SANBI archives of lithograph blocks used in the Landbou Weekblad in 1930 results in a range of designs created by photographing the reflections of the lithograph blocks in the sun.
Our designs are selected by Everard Read director Christine Read for an exhibition at Circa Gallery in Johannesburg. This is a great honour, as our products are seen as more than decorative homeware, and more as art and conversation pieces for the home.
We develop a new collection — Will’s View. Inspired by our journey with botanicals we wanted to see what happens on the inside of plants, and asked a local vet to assist with his X-ray equipment. A beautiful insight into the unseen structures results in the launch of our Will's View range.
Hertex approaches us to develop an exclusive assortment.
We develop our first all-over printed curtain for a private home and later another for the Mount Nelson Hotelin Cape Town.
Evolution and Woolworths South Africa create a collaboration range of limited edition cushion covers.
Admin — our favourite activity — forces us to develop new management systems linking our website, stock management systems and raw material control, and resulting in a faster response to client orders.
Our wall art is block framed and starts featuring as large-scale art in homes and stores.
LAUNCH OF OUR PROTECTORS OF THE PLANET RANGE
Looking further afield for inspiration, and experiencing a deep desire to express our concern for our environment in our ranges, we are blessed to be presented with a book of pressed sea algae specimens from SANBI’s Cape Town archives. We begin developing a sea-life range focusing on sea algae specimens that retained their colours and shapes for over 80 years, and communicating our concern for the health of our oceans. This results in our Protectors of the Planet range.
We launch our final collective assortment with the CBI at Maison et Object.
Elizabeth Leriche selects us for her “What’s New” trend assortment.
We continue to focus on evolving our manufacturing and packing processes and convert all our packaging into paper and biodegradable plastic; we launch reusable metal straws; and we start making tote bags from all of our offcuts and misprints.
We rework our hand-dyeing processes to be colourfast and more sustainable.
FIRST EXHIBIT AT NY NOW
We venture to the United States, where we launch our Protectors of the Planet range in January 2019. After a great response we launch the Nymphaea collection in August 2019 at NY NOW, where we are nominated for the best new product and sustainability awards.
We also introduce jacquard throws and guest towels in our assortment, adding texture to our print and embroidery offering.
In our third collaboration with Mr Price Home we embrace a magical piece of heritage landscape close to our home known as the Melville Koppies.
INDEPENDENT EXHIBIT AT MAISON ET OBJET
Our 10-year anniversary year! Bravely venturing out on our own with the help of our French agent, we show the Nymphaea collection at our first independent stand at Maison et Object. A risk worth taking, with all three trend-forecasting exhibits — by Elizabeth Leriche, Francois Delclaux, and Francois Bernard at Maison et Objet — selecting our range as a directional product.
We venture back to the US in February 2020, having expanded our reach by exhibiting at the innovative Shoppe Object show in downtown New York.