SugarTongTong is a Cape Town-based design brand specialising in textile and jewellery design. The creative offspring of Estee Smyly, her bold, graphic textiles and whimsical jewellery pieces embody a functional playfulness readily appreciated by design enthusiasts.
SugarTongTong started as Estee’s passion project while working as a design consultant for a decor and craft magazine. As she started exhibiting her work at various Cape Town markets and doing commissions for other creative businesses, interest in her designs blossomed, culminating in the official launch of SugarTongTong in 2011.
Though she has no formal training in design, rather attributing her creativity to the influence of her artistic mother, Estee has always pursued creative expression, be its outlet ceramics, sewing or painting.
With SugarTongTong Estee hones in on her love for textiles and jewellery. Her textile product range features scatter cushions and various functional fabric bags. Recently this was extended to include cotton napkins in a variety of fresh, striking designs. The jewellery range comprises earrings, bracelets and necklaces that combine simplicity with a touch of surprise.
Drawing on influences that range from Middle Eastern patterns and embroidery techniques – particularly suzani and lattice – to local flora and fauna, Estee’s designs speak to a classic sensibility but with a fresh and contemporary edge. Her work acknowledges global trends without compromising on the distinct features that characterise a SugarTongTong design.
Estee works closely with her sister Tonya Matthews, who brings a wealth of marketing savvy and creativity to her role as Marketing Manager on the SugarTongTong brand. Tonya’s flair also extends to design as is evident in the brand’s jewellery range, to which she lends her eye and expertise.
SugarTongTong sells at a variety of Cape Town markets, select design retail outlets and online at Spree, Etsy, We Heart This – and right here. All fabric products in the SugarTongTong range are designed, produced and screen printed by hand in Cape Town.