Fairtrade Focus: Lalesso

March 19, 2009 by Maria Kaski 

If you’ve nabbed yourself a holiday to sunnier shores this year, we officially commend you, because you’re clearly in the know about Lalesso’s floaty beachwear dresses and have been itching to get your elegant hippy groove on. Greenmystyle’s Fairtrade Fortnight content is sponsored by Equa.

Lalesso was launched in Cape Town in 2005 by co-creators Olivia Kennaway and Alice Heusser after a holiday to the remote island of Lamu, where the pair became captivated by the traditional attire of the local women of these coastal regions.

The brand’s designs are inspired by the ‘khanga’ or ‘lesso’ with intrinsic patterns and vibrant colours worn by Kenyan women, though its interpretation is distinctly modern and wearable.

The clothes form a comprehensive collection of brightly coloured dresses, kaftans, shorts and skirts, and are exactly the kind of togs you dream of wearing when you board the plane to lands of heat and sun.

Having retained its traditional feel, Lalesso garments can’t profess to fall under a trendy category. But despite this, the vibrant colours and flattering cuts mean that the dresses and kaftans will suit almost every body shape. What’s more, the designs have the perfect mix of relaxed yet elegant bohemian style and eye-popping colour to make them fashionable without being totally ‘on trend’.

With its own workshop in Diani Beach, Kenya, and a strong Fairtrade ethic which benefits the workers immensely, this is the kind of Fairtrade fashion you will be desperate to wear in the summer months.

Lalesso’s only downfall is that we are unlikely to be able to wear these light and floaty fabrics in the metropolis, but hey, we can only blame the weather for that.

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