Athena A Accessories are all handmade by African craftsman
'With a lifelong love for fashion, Athena started out her design career studying shoe design in Milan, Italy.
She further went on to do a shoe making course in London at the prestigious London College of Fashion (Cordwainers), where the likes of Jimmy Choo, Charlotte Olympia, Patrick Cox and Kurt Geiger studied.
Athena is an award winning Film Editor and currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. She enjoys traveling and has partnered her design eye with local craftsman to create her range of jewellery and accessories. Athena A's range will grow to eventually offer distinctive handbags and shoes.'
So the above intro into who brand Athena is and how it came about…is exactly that, an intro. It’s only a part of the journey that got me here today. I initially decided only to include a few facts relating to the story of brand Athena as I felt my customer would not have the time or inclination to read anything more than a paragraph about the creator of the brand but that was the first mistake I made in underestimating the value of my whole story and of you the customer…wanting to know the truth on how this brand manifested and the path it took to get here.
Our value to one another is in our connectivity and our connectivity only comes through us sharing and growing from one another…inspiring one another. I hope my story inspires you to know that your dreams live in you, they never die or stop growing, they just manifest when the time is right, divine timing. I believe in it as it happened to me. This brand, my vision and all that you see on these pages are living proof of that.
My earliest days of childhood are filled with memories of walking in my mom’s highest heels covered in jewellery and every accessory I could lay my hands on. That I believe, is the big secret behind why I can walk in the highest of heels and yes sometimes run in them if that is what’s required on the day. I clearly remember that my most favorite day of the year at school was Spring day where we got the chance to get out of our every day uniforms and wear whatever we wanted. This big event required my mom and I to go out shopping for a new outfit which of course included a pair of shoes and all the accessories to match.
Let me also not leave out a key element in this story, the fact that my mom, who is my fiercest protector and my best friend, is also the most stylish person I know, inspired my love of fashion and I will forever be grateful to her for this. Fast forward a few years later and after studying and having established myself as an award winning Film Editor, I decided at the age of 30 to go and study shoe design in Milan, Italy. This was all great in theory, the only problem was that I had the most creative ideas ever and saw the most beautiful shoes…..but in my head. Easy right - just translate them onto paper, but to be able to do that…you need to be able to draw. For those of you who have already bought some of my pieces, you would have received the personalized ‘thank you’ message that I write to each of my customers, and just from this you can gauge that I have the worst handwriting ever. I have always found anything relating to holding a pen or pencils, a tremendously difficult task. Labels we give ourselves are always roaming around in our heads and a definite label I had proudly given myself was that ‘I - can’t - draw’.
Armed with my new pencils and all the tools required to be ‘a designer’, I arrived at design school in Milan, Italy - fashion capital of the world. Surrounded by fellow students with backgrounds in art and design, I started chipping away at becoming a designer. I let the 10 000 hours rule guide me every day as I worked late into the night trying to make the shape of the foot, which is what we were actually meant to draw, not resemble a tree. After 3 months, I began to understand the art of drawing and more importantly - the technique. For those of you that believe art is a gift you either have or don’t have, I’m going to go right out there and say it, if I can learn to draw, anyone can. On returning home, my family sat in awe looking at my designs and all that they could utter was “but you can’t even write properly, how did you draw these beautiful designs?”. Again, I will repeat this notion - anyone can learn to draw.
I then proceeded to spend the next year working on my in-depth business plan as well as doing a shoe making course in London. All was on route to me fulfilling my dream of becoming a designer and starting my own brand until I received the news that I had Cancer and would need to do extensive radiation and chemo. We do hear of this so often but honestly I never in a million years would have thought that this would be a part of my journey…my story. Reality check, it was and is my story and the best part was it took the worst thing in the whole world to swing my world around and make me the ‘best me’ I could ever be. When one is faced with adversity, you can either sit down and let it consume you or you can use every tool and belief you have…to turn it all around.
I never thought I would have the energy again to create anything, the doctors said that it would take 5 years to fully recover…and 5 years later I found myself walking in a market where I stumbled on the most beautiful pieces of jewellery. That’s were I met Stephen, the artisan behind these beautiful pieces, who is able to take all my designs and bring them to life. 3 months ago I found myself sitting with Stephen and trying to once again hold a pen…draw and explain what my vision in my head was…and once again I had to quieten the voice in my head that told me I couldn’t draw.
As I present my pieces to you, I do so with the feeling of excitement and confidence that I can create…we all can create…don’t give up on that dream.
THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING MINE.