Fashion Art With Heart
The Lalela Scarf
New York-based creative director at Lalela, Sandy Tabatznik, uses her eye for design to pick the best artworks, which are then adapted and incorporated into seasonal collections of scarves. “Lalela provides educational arts to at-risk youth to spark creative thinking and awaken the entrepreneurial spirit,” she explains. Children are taught to dream and set goals, with art being an integral part of schooling to accompany academia and important life skills.
While the Lalela Scarf was born to fund the non-profit programme, it has since grown into a stand-alone luxury brand. It is a member of the prestigious Positive Luxury brands, which include other toptier brands such as Louis Vuitton. What makes the Lalela name special is its basis in producing responsible, show-stopping pieces that are rooted in cultural and societal transformation.
Fashion Making a Difference
“I am deeply humbled by the impact our fashion items are having on our customers. The feedback from the market is phenomenal! People respond immediately to the visual appeal of the designs themselves, but also to what they are about and where they come from. There’s a deeper and more meaningful engagement with the narratives behind the artworks,” Tabatznik says. “It is a privilege to be able to showcase the work of amazingly talented children in this way, and to take their art off the walls into everyday life.”
Lalela was formed in 2010 and soon became a haven for vulnerable students.
What started with 20 children a week has since grown to over 5,000. Lalela means “to listen” in Zulu. Through the programme, these children are heard through the art which they create – it is all about the power of expression. This art encapsulates all forms, from poetry and music to visual arts.
The initiative is based in the Western Cape, although they have several collaborations and partnerships with schools in other provinces and countries, including Zimbabwe and Uganda. Lalela, in Tabatznik’s words, aims to “ignite imagination and teach children how to map and manifest their dreams and goals, launching the possibility of a different future for our students to design a more certain future for themselves and their communities”.
Lalela releases new collections twice year. The winter scarves provide warmth and are crafted using wool, silk, and cashmere. The summer scarves are designed for breezy weather, and are made from featherweight cotton and silks.
The collection also includes canvas bags and leather clutches, which also feature the children’s artworks as their designs. The products have the name of the creator as part of their description, as well as their dreams for the future, connecting you in a very personal way to the programme through the pieces. In an effort to not be wasteful, the samples and scarves discarded during production are cut up to make bandanas. They are all edged in contrasting colours, making them a fun accessory to add to your cart. They can be worn around your neck, head, wrist, or handbag.
The Lalela Scarf’s latest collection was showcased at the prestigious FNB Art
Fair in Johannesburg in September last year. The range included scarves, pocket squares, bandanas, and leather bags. The campaign for this collection was shot by international fashion photographer Higor Bastos, conceptualised and styled by acclaimed local fashion director Bev Nates, and realised with talent from Boss Models.
The artworks featured in the collections vary from township scenes to a youthful African identity. What they all have in common is that they depict the lives and the dreams of the kids that are touched by Lalela.
All proceeds from Lalela collections go towards the NGO Lalela. For more information, please visit www.thelalelascarf.co.za or www.thelalelascarf.org for international shopping.
The products have the name of the creator as part of their description, as well as their dreams for the future, connecting you in a very personal way to the programme through the pieces.