LaLesso, Cloth of My Life

I like Lalesso’s story, ethical approach and style and have a few items of their clothing in my wardrobe that I have worn over and over again over a few years now, yet they retain their shape and colour wonderfully. This is one of my favourites from their earlier collections, The Tiwi Dress:

A “lesso” is a length of  pure cotton cloth that has real Swahili appeal and East African roots.  These lengths of cloth are usually bought in pairs and cut apart to make 2 separate cloths that are worn by many African women. The lessos of Kenya and Tanzania are bold, bright and colourful and feature a Swahili proverb emblazoned across the bottom section of the back.

My mother had many many of these lessos. She would wear them over her skirts to protect them as she cooked, went to the market to haggle for our daily bread or went about her housework. My eldest cousin who would often stay with us, did the same only she would also wrap one around her waist when she was breaking out her chakacha. I also had a pile of lessos that I would use at the beach or as a night dress when the humidity was too much. I also had the peculiar habit of traveling with a lesso so I can wrap a pillow within in…apparently I never trusted another person’s pillow case.

I have to admit that I found lesso too restrictive for my boisterous movements. And so it is that my heart skipped when I found Lalesso’s online shop. Finally I could wear a lesso in a more comfortable and practical way!

Photos taken in Matera, Italy.

Links: LaLesso