Lalesso was set up in 2005 by Olivia Kennaway and Alice Heusser, both born in Africa and educated in Cape Town. Since their launch the duo have become acclaimed for their work in ethical fashion and promotion of fair trade in fashion and have won many awards. Now the Lalesso is famous for it’s signature prints and resort wear which has been worn by the likes of Kate Moss and Sienna Milller.
After studying fashion design together in Cape Town the pair were impelled to harness the magical beauty of the East African 'khanga', also known as 'lesso' to create vibrant and care free summer fashion.
Kenya is a country overflowing with raw talent, incredible design aesthetics and beautiful people yet over 50% of the population live below the poverty line. This was another compelling factor that urged the pair to form the brand and use the business to help create employment with a fair wage that will not only aid survival but allow them to considerably improve their standard of living.
In 2009 Lalesso handed over its in-house work shop 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 employment to Kenyans. Lalesso, as well as many other international designers, now uses SOKO for all their garment production, www.soko-kenya.com.
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.
Eco Friendly (Carbon neutral)
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