Name: Hayley Kruger
Age: 37
Place of birth: Zimbabwe
Current residence: London, UK

I am Scottish, German and Norwegian, but I was born in Zimbabwe. I grew up in South Africa and then I migrated to London to broaden my horizons. I am an only child and come from a modest hard-working family.

The house that I grew up in was built on clay soil so I was always sculpting and baking the clay into bowls, sculptures and beads. I grew up creating things and that developed into dress making, jewellery design and art. Instead of going to fashion college I decided to travel for inspiration, when I finally settled down I found my calling in Jewellery and silversmithing.

Despite the vibrancy of my designs, I dress rather low-key. But I always add a splash of colour and bold jewellery. Collecting jewellery was my first love, and then came the designer title.

I design for my alter ego; the women that I imagined I would grow up to be. I get my inspiration from strong female icons such as Miriam Makeba, Barbarella, Joan of Arc and Cleopatra. But Southern Africa has the biggest influence on my work. The colours and cultures that I grew up with are ever present in my designs and they represent the strongest woman of all – Mother Nature.

Women are multi-faceted. We can achieve so much, whether it is in a single day or over a lifetime. And we have so much choice thanks to the determined women before us.

Photography by Condry Calvin Mlilo

I am Complexd because I can look back at how I have grown and evolved and use moments in my life (no matter how cringe worthy) to shape who I am today and who I am going to be. I am tenacious, loyal and proud and I look forward to what is still to come!

Shop Hayley Kruger’s designs here

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Name: Fatiméh SY
Age: 21
Place of birth: Baghdad, Iraq
Current Residence: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

As an Iraqi I have a unique sense of national pride. I respect and appreciate difference but when I look back at my country’s  history and contemplate the different phases it has been through, the best term I can use to describe my country is Mesopotamia – the cradle of civilisation.  In Iraq’s most tragic times I grieved by drawing paintings that depicted my wounded homeland.

My parents and family have always encouraged me to do what I love doing, so I am building my fashion design portfolio. They have always shown appreciation for my messy sketches as well as my final pieces.

My philosophy is to reach perfection in my work. I enjoy drawing my dreams on paper, by doing this I hope that one day through diligence and hard work they will turn into a solid reality.

I love designing and seeing how an idea hatched in my mind transpires through my sketches and illustrations.  Designing has become my expressive tool for freedom of thought and that’s mainly what I love all about it.

I design to renew and modernise with the aim of enhancing the beauty and splendour of men and women. My designs are about elegance so I spend a lot of time and effort producing sophisticated pieces for my clients.

The challenge being a fashion designer in Iraq is not the competition; it is the fact that I am not a man. It is hard to fit in but the journey of a thousand steps begins with a step forward. I have the ambition and self belief to someday reach my goals.

Women are unique and sensitive creatures filled with passion, innovation and creativity. I love being a woman because women are the essential part of life.

I am Complexd because after reading this quote ‘you might be one of the richest people on earth, and you might not be aware of what you really have’, I realised I know what I have and I am proud of it.


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Dear readers,

I hope you enjoyed the festive season and got a chance to read all the Complexd articles in the Island issue. We have  finalised our editorial calendar for the New Year and my personal resolutions, goals and to-do list are taking up so much space in my brain I’m in desperate need of a calender. Photographer Fiona Compton sent me a preview of her 2012 Portrait of a Caribbean Flower calendar starring Alice Clarke whose delicate features graced the beauty pages of the Island issue (page 9).

Photographed by Frederique Rapier 

Alice is calm and collected and a pleasure to work with. Her easy persona and comfort in front the camera can be seen throughout the calendar and in these portraits below in which Fiona Compton fuses exotic flowers with island beauty.

Buy your 2012 Portrait of a Caribbean Flower calendar here

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‘Christmas can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home!’

‘The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other’

Christmas is not in tinsel and lights and outward show. The secret lies in an inner glow. It’s lighting a fire inside the heart. Good will and joy a vital part. It’s higher thought and a greater plan. It’s glorious dream in the soul of man’

Images by Frederique Rapier for the Celebration issue 

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Over the weekend I came across an innovative new company while doing a bit of Christmas shopping in pop-up design store The Temporium.

Lured in by tasters, I couldn’t get enough of the Pom Pom’s at the Pom Pom Takoyaki stall! Not too be confused with a cutsey toy or Christmas decoration, Pom Pom’s the brain child of Japaneses natives Hana and Tomo are golf sized savory pancake balls made of batter. Traditionally it is made with octopus, spring onions, pickled ginger and tenkasu, but food fanatics Hana and Tomo decided to fill their Takoyaki’s with more familiar tasty and sweet variations of the original recipe.

Pom Pom Chicken – Teriyaki Chicken and sauce 

Pom Pom Apple – Caramelised apple, cinnamon and honey , Pom Pom Chocolate – cherry & chocolate sauce,  Pom Pom Banana – Banana, chocolate sauce and coconut 

I asked Hana and Tomo how the idea came about…

Why did you decide to bring this particular traditional Japanese dish to the UK? 

Takoyaki (octopus ball) is a popular tasty street food snack in Japan. We felt that there was a lack of snacks like takoyaki available in the UK so we knew we would fill a gap in the market.  We still offer the traditional takoyaki on our menu but we wanted to do something new and unique, so we developed  Pom Pom’s which is similar to takoyaki but with different fillings and flavours to suit a UK clientele. After all octopus isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

How did you go about developing your business Pom Pom Takoyaki? 

We started off by coming up with the Pom Pom concept and then tried to find the right type of brand image, then we started experimenting with different recipes. When we felt confident that we had something that we totally believed in, we started to do the practical things like opening a business bank account, printing business cards and contacting various people, including Dezeen who offered us a space in their Christmas pop up store The Temporium. The Temporium is actually our first public introduction and Pom Pom’s have had a lot of interest.  We are learning along the way and enjoying the whole process.

Tell me a bit about your journey from Japan to London?

Hana: I originally moved to Cambridge with my family because of my father’s job, but returned to Japan after 2 years. I decided to come back  to study at a university in London because I loved the cosmopolitan lifestyle.

Tomo: I wanted to learn French cuisine so I lived and worked in Paris. I met my Husband in Paris, he was from the UK, so we returned together. I love my country and miss many things including the food, but London allows me to be unique. Individuality  is respected and accepted here perhaps a little more than in Japan.

What has been the  public’s response to Pom Poms in the UK? 

It’s been very positive! A lot of people approach Pom Pom’s with a curious look on their face until they try them. Once they have had a taste  there has been nothing but positive responses. At first we found that not many people know about takoyaki. It helps us a bit because they have nothing to compare Pom Pom’s with and we can introduce new flavours. We describe them as edible Pom Pom’s because  there isn’t one particular recipe  that has been more popular. They have all been equally popular so it’s hard to predict what assortment people choose to have in their box*.  We found that children really like them because they look cute and fun and customers have commented on how visually appetizing they look when we decorate them with different sauces and toppings. For us that is our biggest compliment because it was our aim to  create something unique and tasty.

The Pom Pom Takoyaki stall will be at The Temporium – 65 Mounmouth Street, Covent Garden until 24th December.

*Box of 5 Pom Pom’s for £3.80

Images by Luke Hayes


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