Meet The Makers: LALESSO

We meet South Africa's new queen of print, swimwear and summer maxi dresses to die for!

"Never try and be anyone but yourself, your true and authentic self - if you express that in what you do, everything else flows".

OLIVIA KENNAWAY

Q.  How did the idea of Lalesso happen? Was this something you always wanted to do, or something that just happened? 

It really just happened, Alice and I were studying Fashion Design in Cape Town and one holiday she came to visit me in my home country, Kenya. It was there that we mused in mutual admiration over the local khanga fabrics, something that I have been wrapped in since I was born. When we got back to Cape Town to resume our studies we made some handkerchief hem skirts - this was to be the starting block of the Lalesso brand.

 

"Diane certainly is one of the queens of print, her styles are classic and timeless and that's something I relate the Lalesso brand to".

OLIVIA KENNAWAY
 

Q. When I saw your prints I immediately thought of Diane Von Furstenburg. Which fashion icons' story do you most relate to and why?

Diane certainly is one the queens of print, her styles are classic and timeless and that's something I relate the Lalesso brand to. Camilla, the queen of print in Australia is a designer I really look up to - her designs are again effortless and timeless and she translates that seamlessly to the feeling that summer gives us. Mara Hoffman is another designer who I really relate too, her prints are extremely distinguishable and her simple silhouettes make for an amazing brand identity.

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Q. We love the bold prints on your garments, where do you draw inspiration for some of the names of the pieces from as well as the patterns?

The names of the garments are all Swahili words and in some way represent the shape and form of the style. 

Q. What has been your best boss moment so far and what has been the worst?

Best moment (s!) has to be having control of my own time. Worst moment...I suppose feeling the weight of financial pressures at certain times is also quite an intense 'boss moment'!

 

"The names of the garments are all Swahili words and in some way represent the shape and form of the style."

OLIVIA KENNAWAY

 

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Q. If you could give the 20 year old version of you advice what would it be?

Never try and be anyone but yourself, your true and authentic self - if you express that in what you do, everything else flows.

Q. What's your typical day like? Do you need to balance the business with kids and the home?

I only have one furry kid at the moment, Chesa - a vizsla! We always start the day with a walk on the mountain. There are so many lesser known routes around the mountain, I just love being able to drive less than 10 minutes from the City Centre and be immersed in nature and not see anyone for a whole hour sometimes. Once I start my days work, usually at around 8 or 8:30, I'm head down until 4 or 5 when I take my furry child for another walk. I feel so grateful to have her in my life to force me to do this. Keeping my life in balance is absolutely key and my weekends are sacred. I make a point of not doing any work on the weekends. Weekends are for relaxing, being in nature and seeing friends.

Q. What is your advice on balancing creativity with business?

I find business itself is very creative - one is always having to adjust and adapt and rework and rethink - and I love that process. In turn, seeing business in this way encourages further creativity. I do always dedicate time to being fully creative and when I do this my laptop is far away and I like to make a playful mess with paper and paint and scissors and fabric and and and....☺️

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Q. Can women have it all or are we chasing an elusive rainbow?

Of course! But what is all? I think each persons 'all' is very much their own quest and self fulfillment can only come from within, not what society has so unfairly painted for us. In terms of career and having children, that's something I've yet to experience but I have a good feeling about making it work 😉

Q. If you could invite three women to dinner who would they be and why them?

Mara Hoffman - I admire the business that Mara has built incredibly and she just seems really like my kind of woman! Michelle Obama - needs no explanation. My mum - because I don't get to see her nearly enough and she's amazing 😊

 

"I think each persons 'all' is very much their own quest and self fulfillment can only come from within".

OLIVIA KENNAWAY

 

Q. What is your self-care routine?

I use my friends amazing brand called Wild Earth Botanics based out of Kenya - her products are organic and 100% natural, my go to is the anti-aging oil, I use this morning and night. I make my own face wash using spirulina, turmeric, bicarbonate of soda, honey, coconut oil, baobab oil and macadamia oil - it works as an all in one toner, cleanser and moisturiser and my skin loves it.

Q. Favourite health snack?

Full cream yoghurt drizzled with some olive oil and some salt and pepper - like tzatziki without the cucumber - it's fresh, light and delicious

Q. Best thing about having Africa as inspiration? 

Oh gosh - too many to mention here so I guess it's diversity? But to name a few - the colours, the textures, the rustic-ness, the rawness, the authenticity, the cultures, the space...

Q.Future plans for your brand?

To keep on the upward spiral! Nurture our expanding SA market even more, this is something I have really enjoyed over the past year, growing the brand on the local platform which is so welcoming and again, diverse. Will need to keep some of the rest a surprise 😉

We Love Everything Lalesso, visit the site here to see and buy these stunning dresses.

Also visit wildearthbotanics.com for that anti-aging oil she mentioned =)

Hey Kudisco!