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In the shabby chic dis­trict of Neukölln, the part of town Ber­lin­ers visit when they want a skinny latte and a joint, a new bou­tique dis­plays South African de­signs. Two things os­ten­si­bly ab­sent from the shop are beads and wooden cu­rios.

“We wanted to move away from stereo­typ­i­cal African de­sign,” says pro­pri­etor Caro­line Adam. She has­tens to add she is not fun­da­men­tally op­posed to ei­ther of those tropes, “as long as it is done in an in­no­va­tive way”.

The Dis­trict Six Store is filled with fresh in­ter­pre­ta­tions of fa­mil­iar prod­ucts. A wire-frame lamp by Indigi De­signs gives a new spin on African wire con­struc­tions. It adds a touch of bright-red shweshwe fab­ric in the lamp­shade. Fur­ther down the aisle, min­i­mal­ist ce­ram­ics by Mia Mélange hang be­side kalei­do­scopic mungo fab­rics. The store is as di­verse as a na­tion.

“Peo­ple want to buy prod­ucts that have a story,” says the Ger­man en­tre­pre­neur.

She re­counts the story of one of the fea­tured de­sign­ers, Safia Tucker, who could not af­ford a sewing ma­chine to as­sem­ble her leather bags. Forced to weave the leather into it­self, a new ap­proach was serendip­i­tously born.

Cus­tomers loved the quirk. Now the Ilundi leather bags are dis­played along­side the work of 36 other South African de­sign­ers in the

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