Awards Sept 2009
Ethical brands LALESSO, MIA, HENRIETTA LUDGATE and MARK LIU have been chosen by the expert panel of judges to show at Pure London the UK’s largest trade show and Estethica at London Fashion Week. The winners will also receive business support from an expert consultancy team.
Lalesso was launched in Cape Town 2005. The ideology was centred on combining East African heritage with current seasonal trends.
Lalesso opened their own workshop in Diani Beach, Kenya. Starting out with just two seamstresses they now have a team of up to 30 tailors working on a contractual basis. As well as being responsible with the workshop team, Lalesso also tries to involve the community in as many ways possible. The ‘Crochet Sisters’ are a group of nuns who make all the crochet by hand. Local Masaai tradesmen make the beaded bracelets used on the swing tags. Unemployed ‘beach boys’ are commissioned to hand carve buttons from decaying coconuts. Among other various temporary and permanent projects Lalesso strives to boost the income and livelihoods of these otherwise struggling individuals.
Lalesso are also involved with the start up of SOKO an ethical and eco production plant in Kenya.
Having spent much time in Malawi, and obsevrving the local street fashion MIA has combined second hand clothes (kaunjika in Chichewa) purchased from local markets with traditional Malawian textiles to create contemporary womenswear.
One important tenet of the design platform is MIA’s commitment to eschewing the waste and consumerism of global ‘fast fashion’ culture and embracing what we have in our ‘wardrobes’ and reinventing it.
MIA aims to bring financial independence to tailors recruited to work with the MIA label, to bring economic empowerment to second hand clothes sellers and textile partners.
Henrietta Ludgate grew up in one of the only crofting villages, which is still fully operational in the Highlands of Scotland. By using the fleece and tweed produced by crofters from villages in locality, Henrietta Ludgate supports the crofters and the skills and traditions that they embody. Crofters were in many respects early pioneers of recycling. It is in this spirit which Henrietta uses the surplus fabrics from mills.
Mark Liu explores ways the fashion production system can be re-designed to create a more
sustainable future. Pioneering the “Zero Waste Fashion” cutting process which saves 15%
more material. Also researching and using: organic fabrics, water based pigments and now bio-