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Alice Heusser & Olivia Kennaway

Co-Founders, Lalesso

Alice Heusser & Olivia Kennaway's Live Mosaic

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Biography

Self-described ‘children of Africa’, Alice Heusser and Olivia Kennaway are fashion designers of the brand Lalesso, a luxury African fashion and lifestyle brand. The business model is transparent, sustainable, and relies on ethical production facilities in Kenya and South Africa. The duo met while studying fashion design in Cape Town, and were inspired by the colourful East African khanga cloth in rich, vibrant prints, and formed Lalesso after travelling to the remote island of Lamu, where coastal Swahili women wore the khanga cloth.

Their native land’s widespread poverty also compelled the pair to incorporate fair trade practises and provide skills training and jobs to the local women. In 2009, Heusser and Kennaway launched SOKO, an independent production unit that supports local talent and crafts. Besides Lalesso, a variety of other clothing brands utilise SOKO’s production capabilities.

Taking note of local creative artisans and talents, Lalesso include various aspects of traditional craft and beading into the apparel, such as beaded bracelets, carved coconut buttons, and metalwork. Since last year, Lalesso has been produced in South Africa as well, in part as a move to protect the country’s garment industry, which had been threatened by manufacturers moving out of the country.

Climate change and environmental concerns are also top of mind for Heusser and Kennaway. To that end, they have taken steps to become, according to the company, one of the world’s only ‘zero-carbon’ fashion brands.

Career

Lalesso

Lalesso

Co-Founders

2005 - Present

Cape Town, South Africa

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Vital Statistics

Nationality

Kenya/ South Africa

Location
South Africa

Honours

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Links

website
lalesso.com
twitter
twitter.com/lalesso_

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instagram
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