Edited by 19th Hole Staff
Inspiration from the vibrant East African khanga cloth gives the Lalesso fashion house a sense of endless summer. Print-rich designs, an effortless sense of movement and classic silhouettes are the hallmarks from co-creators Alice Heusser and Olivia Kennaway.
Current designs are based on the 19th century spotted kerchief known as the lesso (originally from India). Originally traded in six-unit bundles, the women of East Africa soon adapted the individual cloth pieces to one large sarong. The traditional pattern mimics the spotted guinea fowl, giving the cloth it’s Swahili name – khanga. Now, Lalesso gives the fashion world an updated hint of Africa in sexy, fun and stylish clothing crafted by Heusser and Kennaway into exotic creations. Sarongs can be slipped on for a day of shopping or dressed up for a night on the town. The collection ranges from dresses to skirts and bikinis.
After a stint in Fashion Design in Cape Town, the pair started their brand, combining the incredible design aesthetic of Kenya with the need to use their business to provide skills training and create fair-wage employment for their workforce. Lalesso is fully committed to the environment and is one of the first total carbon zero fashion brands globally. Their sound and sustainable business practices have made a positive impact on East African communities.