Fimbi Leather Art
There are few things that conjure up a special emotion than the soothing smell of leather.
From the warm fuzzy feeling of your Dad’s leather jacket, to the soft landing on a beautiful couch; everybody loves leather and has a fond memory.
It is maybe therefore that a woman’s biggest weakness very often is her handbag; she covers miles and transports her household in it! We get very attached to our handbag and it better be strong to fit in today’s modern women’s’ lives. We have places to visit and errands to run!
Leather comes in many forms, colours, and textures. In Namibia, together with Nguni cows, we have oryx and springbok roaming the savanna steppe; happily munching away. If hunters cull for meat supply, there is very little of the animal that does not find use in our society. We see the preparation of skin to leather for clothing and accessories as a celebration of that animal’s life.
FIMBI is the brainchild of Elsie Imhof, a versatile Namibian artist producing wildlife drawings, bespoke jewellery, and leather accessories. Once a well-respected tour guide, showing our international guests the beauty and diversity of Namibia, its landscape, and its people, she was forever sketching and dabbling on whatever medium she could find. As a farm tomboy growing up in Grootfontein with two brothers, she was forever in nature and horses are still her biggest passion.
Slowly but surely, she expressed her artistic and creative abilities into sewing high quality, gender neutral products from various types of leather. Elsie bases her acquisition of leather pieces on the smell, feel and characteristic marks present on the skin. She finds that the marks from thorn bushes in the north is a sign of a free and happy animal. She claims that if the leather speaks to her, she buys it and waits for inspiration to call upon her how to best create a long-lasting accessory.
Elsie’s trademark must be the high quality A6 and A5 plain paper notebooks covered with either Burchell Zebra or Springbok hide, of which many have found their way into corporate boardrooms around the world.
She continuously transfers her skills to her three assistants, who both have a handbag named after them, which they regularly produce with great pride and joy, and are sought after at our properties; Kalahari Anib Lodge, Namushasha River Lodge and Etosha Safari Lodge.
Elsie takes great pride in sourcing African trade beads from surrounding countries. Whether it be wood, shell, brass, or clay; she adorns each handbag personally, separately, and uniquely. The use of a variety of old trade beads is aptly attached to many bags, keyholders and cushion covers and adds a little touch of Namibia’s heritage.
Her tassel keyholders are always unique and one of a kind and can complement a classic handbag of the finest finish and high-quality hardware. This ensures that you can use a FIMBI handbag in more than one way and always show up fashionably and modern.
FIMBI has the chameleon as their logo and the name fittingly translates from the Oshiwambo language. Not a coincidence as with all accessories, you choose to show your true colours for the day.
Written by: Sonia Noirfalise