Africa Fashion Guide
A social enterprise promoting sustainability within Africa's fashion and textile industry.


July 17th, 2014

Lalesso – Introduction to the Resort SS15 Collection

Lalesso is one of those jewels in fashion, a must see, a must find, a must have.

As one of Africa’s Luxury fashion and lifestyle brands it speaks its own story by supporting an entirely transparent, sustainable, eco and ethical production facility in Kenya as well as South Africa. Having visited the Kenyan factory that produces their collections we can vouch for them being one of the best in East Africa.

Each season co-creators Alice Heusser and Olivia Kennaway seek inspiration from the vibrant East African khanga cloth for their print rich designs. The exclusively summer label literally engulfs an effortless sense of freedom through it’s classic yet uniquely distinguishable silhouettes.

We are excited about their first Resort collection which is available now for forward order and will be in stores from September 2014. Each style focuses on the form, make up and the colour and is also available in either of the four print options and we adore every piece. Such a vibrant palette and a choice of intricate patterns, the Lalesso Resort 2015 Collection has something for everyone. embraces the cultural heritage on which the brand was founded.

Always with ethics in mind the brand continues to focus on sustainability. For this collection they use (the often questionable but beautifully soft) environmentally friendly 100% bamboo fabric as well as 100% PET made up of recycled plastic bottles.



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But above all Lalesso is known for almost tributing and reworking the traditional khanga or lesso in such an effortless and uncomplicated way that simply celebrates the beauty of East Africa of which it is inspired from. All of the exclusive Lalesso prints for this collection have been designed in house and the prints come in various styles from swimwear pieces with gold trims to dresses, cover-ups and kaftans. All presented in an amazing photoshoot set which was influenced by the simple form and colour of the De Stijl art movement (which we adore) and worn by the stunning model Aluad Deng Anei.

We are in love with the colour, the print and the complete lookbook and admittedly are followers and fans of this brand, so much we featured them in our book Fashion Africa. But for those who don’t know their story, Alice and Olivia are children of Africa and have been wrapped in its mesmerising fabrics since birth. Having met whilst studying Fashion Design in Cape Town, the pair were inspired to start Lalesso after travelling to the remote Island of Lamu in the North of Kenya where the coastal Swahili women adorn the khanga cloth with a unique vibrancy and graciousness.

They tell us that Kenya is a country overflowing with raw talent, incredible design aesthetics and beautiful people yet over 50% of the population lives below the poverty line. This was another compelling factor that urged the pair to form the brand and use the business to help provide skills training, create employment with a fair wage that will not only aid survival but also allow them to considerably improve their standard of living.

In 2009 Lalesso handed over its in-house workshop to another of their Kenyan inspired ideas, SOKO. After realising the potential that an ethical factory could provide, the pair instigated the start up of SOKO. SOKO is now an independent, charity based, eco and ethical clothing production unit that supports local talent and provides skills training as well as employment to Kenyans. Lalesso, as well as many other international designers, now uses SOKO for all their garment production,

Lalesso also uses the creative talent of Kenyan artisans in many aspects of the designs, incorporating various design initiatives and supporting them in doing so. These include beaded bracelets on the swing tags, hand carved coconut buttons, masai beading, brass work among others.

Since 2013 Lalesso has expanded its production sources to South Africa. The South African garment industry has been under heavy threat from the East with many facilities having closed down and many skilled industry workers being made redundant. Lalesso is encouraging and supporting the threatened industry and it’s skilled work force through production in both Cape Town and Durban.

Lalesso is also fully committed to the environment and is one of the first totally carbon zero fashion brands in the world today. Climate change is one of the biggest issues currently facing humanity and our planet and without the contribution of individuals and businesses, no matter how big or small, it poses an ever looming threat to our future. Carbon Offsetting is the practice of reducing emissions through a carbon-saving project in order to balance out emissions from a given source. Lalesso carbon offsets through CO2 Balance, an award winning and dedicated company that not only uses it’s effort to make an impact on the environment but also takes measures to make a social impact on East African communities.


Photography by KOPE | FIGGINS
Model Aluad Deing from Boss Cape Town
Makeup by Kirsti Van Zyl



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