One thing that I loved about being abroad was the fashion! So many clothes…so little time…and SOOO much cheaper than the U.S.
I received a few e-mails asking where I got the skirt I was wearing on my post about Newburyport’s Farmer’s Market the other day (here)…so here is a little piece about that skirt…my oh-so-favorite skirt!
In a boutique store in Rondebosch, just outside of Cape Town, I discovered these fabulous printed garments, that were all hand-made and gorgeously African.
A closer look brought me to realize that all of the fabrics were hand painted and contained traditional Indian and Kenyan “handkerchief” patterns and even incorporated Swahili sayings on the prints.
The prints are then hand sewn by local Kenyan women into these wonderfully unique dress, skirts…even bathing suits and ballet flats!!
Because the fabric is hand painted, every piece of clothing is 100% unique! The company was started by two young, fresh out of University women (one from Kenya and one from South Africa) who wanted to bring African style to the fashion forward world while giving back!
The company helps support the Eastern African cotton industries and local women financially.
They have been featured in every major fashion magazine, including Elle and Vogue…
Here are some pics from a fashion show on the British Vogue website of LalESSO…
For an interview with the owners on their design and style philosophy…click here
I walked away the first day with this wonderful Kenyan skirt (above) that is soooo comfortable.My friend Lucy, and some other friends, also fell in love with their printed dresses and splurged as well!
I literally have worn that skirt at least once a week (minus the winter) since i bought it last Spring, and it has survived TONS of washes and being bleached by the African sun on an outdoor line while abroad…
I also purchased a short, kind of sassy darker colored skirt that is black and purple, while I purchased a a halter dress that is purple, cream and black. I actually wore the dress yesterday to Rockport, MA with my family for lunch, and received a bunch of compliments on it!
Here’s a little blurb about the company from their web page…
“All Lalesso clothing is manufactured under strict and extremely conscious ethical conditions in our self owned workshop in Kenya, East Africa. All our employees are paid well above the average wage and are already benefiting not only their lives but the lives of their families and have been able to increase their standard of living considerably. Each ‘lesso’ or ‘khanga’ is hand washed in the Indian Ocean before being transformed into a Lalesso creation; this is an age old method of aiding the stay fastness of the dyes.
Please note that the colours and pattern designs on the ‘khanga’ or ‘lesso’ are all unique, the manufacturers produce five designs each week and after that the design is never produced again. What this means is that each piece of fabric in it’s respective print will most likely never be found in the same garment twice so please understand that if you like a certain print but it’s in the wrong size, I’m afraid it is not possible to order it in your size. The colours/designs shown are ONLY available in the sizes given.”
Buy clothes from laLESSO here…
Note: shipping to the U.S. will probably take about 4-10 days, so practice a little patience! Of course buying clothing in South Africa for me was much less expensive and I even got my Salama dress on sale for the equivalent of $30. However, the dresses and other clothing usually run from about $40 to around $100, which still isn’t too bad considering it is handmade and goes to a good a cause…I suggest waiting for a sale, though!
Update: LaLESSO is actually launching at TOP SHOP in the Oxford Circus… hopefully they will be here soon!..check out their Facebook group here