Lalesso: Celebrating Ten Years of African Summer

We recently had the honour of celebrating with local design brand, Lalesso. Many bottles of Krone MCC were popped under the African summer sky as we toasted to their inspiring ten years of beautiful design.

On reflecting over the past ten years—partnerships, collaborations and the stories therein are the consistent highlights of the adventure it’s been. Inspired by this, Lalesso invited ten brands to collaborate and create ten unique products. Each collaboration design features ten ‘limited edition’ pieces. The theme of sustainability, Africa and summer remains core to each of the ten collaboration designs.

Lalesso founders Alice Heusser and Olivia Kennaway pictured with journalist Seth Shezi (middle) at the launch.

We caught up with co-founder, Olivia Kennaway to talk about the importance of supporting local design and tapping into creativity.

Did you always want to be a clothing designer? Tell us a bit about your journey. I remember very vividly the moment of realisation that a 2D piece of fabric could become a 3D garment that you could wear—it felt truly liberating. I started Lalesso with Alice (Heusser) while we were still at university, I remember feeling pretty done with the course about midway through the second year and couldn’t wait to get into the ‘real world’. While I appreciate style, a strong personal style especially, I’m by no means a typical fashionista and involving the social and environmental consciousness to the brand has been an instrumental part of motivating me and the business. Ten years on and I realise that I’m creating every day, I indulge in the challenges and rewards of business and I get to do my bit while doing it with heaps of gratitude.

What is it about the synergy between Krone MCC and Lalesso that appeals to you? I love that Krone is so authentically connected to its roots. It has a strong identity yet it’s extremely versatile. Krone is chic and has style yet she’d probably be on the dancefloor with no shoes on because she’s heaps of fun like that! I don’t need to mention our mutual love of summer do I? I feel the Krone and Lalesso synergy is bountiful and I look forward to seeing it grow!

Why do you think it’s important that people support local designers? It’s really important to me, on a scale of 1 to 10, 20! It’s not all about just supporting local, a huge part of it is that a vast majority of the international brands we get in South Africa are really BAD—the true cost of an international high street garment weighs extremely heavily on people and our planet; discrimination, slave labour, child labour, pollution, waste, destroying the environment is what you are paying for by purchasing that item.

We are fortunate in South Africa that the vast majority of factories here are well protected by trade unions and they are generally smaller which encourages good working conditions and terms. The benefits of buying local are plentiful: job creation, boosting the economy, reduced environmental impact and so on. The added bonus is that we have such an incredible variety of local designers that there really is no excuse. I drew the line about three years ago and since then have only bought local or ethical clothing: it costs more but I shop less—and I’m sure I end up spending much less too! Each piece is a treasure to me and I can confidently say my wardrobe has never looked better!

What does creativity mean to you? How do you tap into it? Creativity is everything to me—it’s the trees, the mountains, the ocean, having an idea, and acting on it, putting pen to paper, brush to canvas, dancing in the open air. I strongly believe balance is the key to everything and by keeping in balance—walking in forests, swimming in the ocean, drawing, painting, dancing—creativity is ever there.

Favourite look for the summer? On the beach, the Lalesso Mwisho Swimsuit and my Crystal Birch hat. Not on the beach, it has to be the Maanguko Dress with my custom espadrille sandals from Espadrille on Bree.



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