Designers We Love: Gisele Human

WORDS Lindi Brownell Meiring

Every year, Design Indaba, in association with the Department of Arts and Culture, chooses 40 talented up-and-comers as part of the anticipated Emerging Creatives initiative.

Started in 2005, this programme has helped launch the careers of many successful South African creatives. At this year’s exhibition, held at the Watershed in Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront, we spotted some local stars we just had to chat to. Meet jewellery designer, Gisele Human.

What do you love about design?

The process of design kind of narrows your frame of mind, so while you’re going about your daily life, you’re subconsciously collecting ideas, and with your personal filter, picking up things from nature, people, objects, fashion and art that reflect what you’re looking for in your own design. I love having that preoccupation, it’s a really long-term project that you can entertain yourself with and it constantly keeps your minding ticking over with new things to make and think of and figure out. That’s what I love about design.

Describe your work in three words.

Unusual, adventurous, sophisticated.

What did being an Emerging Creative mean to you?

Official acknowledgement for creating something that makes you worth being an Emerging Creative feels so good – like a really big high-five from someone important. Being an Emerging Creative is an opportunity to meet people who know more than I do, that I can learn from, and who have the ability to show me the way forward in creating a brand that is successful and sustainable in the long run.

Gisele makes her designs by hand in Cape Town under her label WAIF.

To view more of her designs, visit