2011 and 2012 Collaboration - Jennifer Kinnear jewellery and Lalesso

I've been playing with the idea of doing an African style collection, as I've been spending a lot of time in Kenya recently. So I got talking to the designers behind the Kenyan brand called 'Lalesso' and we are excited to be collaborating together.

nkundu necklace

The collection will have lots of my inspiration used within it and I will use their fabrics and the feel of their clothes as inspiration. It's the first time I’ve collaborated with a clothing brand which is exciting. I will be using ethically sourced materials and ethically sustainable workshops to manufacture the collection in Kenya. I'm very excited to be involved with this amazing duo of designers; Olive kennaway and Alice Heusser of lalesso brand. (www.lalesso.com) They make cool ,edgy designs from the traditional cloth and fabric of Kenya called kanga and lesso. 

They have just won the 'Glamour magazine' women of the year awards 2010, which is a fantastic achievement, they won for their ethical approach to fashion and for building such a successful brand. The inspiration for this jk – lalesso collection is; beach life, ocean organics, flowers and the chic, chilled out, earthy beauty, found only on the Kenyan coast. It will feature many of the traditional techniques for making jewellery here in Kenya and feature recycled brass, bone, horn and wood.

coral necklace

Lalesso was launched in Cape Town 2005 by Olivia Kennaway and Alice Heusser. The inspiration behind the brand came from a holiday to Olivia’s home country Kenya where the pair travelled to the remote Island of Lamu off the coast of Kenya. The traditional attire of the local women in these coastal regions is the captivatingly beautiful kanga or lesso; it’s intrinsic patterns and vibrant colours were the inspiration for the birth of the Lalesso brand. The pair felt it was necessary to involve a socially responsible method of manufacturing and so set up their own workshop in Diani Beach, Kenya. Starting out with just two seamstresses they now have a team of 22.  All tailors are paid over 3 times the average manufacturer’s wage (this is not exuberant, just fair). The working conditions are ideal, hours are flexible to suit their personal restrictions and this is monitored by production targets. We offer a creche facility, loans, sick pay, sick leave, maternity leave, crisis leave. In just 3 years, the change in their lives is clearly visible. This method of manufacturing actually turned into something that was sustainable as an individual business and therefore SOKO was born.

pineapple necklace

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 Masai tradesmen make the beaded bracelets used on the swing tags. Unemployed beach boys are commissioned to hand carve buttons from decaying coconuts. Please check back soon for the uploaded collection pieces in our shop section. Hope you enjoy!

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