Apparel with purpose; that's the rationale behind The Lalela Scarf, an international luxury fashion brand that exclusively supports Lalela, a non-profit arts education programme for at-risk youth in sub-Saharan Africa.
The brand's latest collection is featured in a campaign shot by international fashion photographer Higor Bastos, conceptualised and styled by acclaimed local fashion director Bev Nates and modelled by talent from Boss Models.
Comprising scarves, pocket squares, bandanas and leather bags, the new range was showcased recently in South Africa at the FNB Art Joburg, which took place from 13-15 September 2019 in Johannesburg.
The designs that give The Lalela Scarf such universal appeal are created using Lalela learners' original artworks. New York-based creative director Sandy Tabatznik curates each seasonal collection of scarves by drawing on stand-out paintings and then adapting their format.
The fashion accessory was first conceived as a means of funding Lalela but has grown into a stand-alone luxury brand in its own right and is a member of the Positive Luxury Brand, which includes other top-tier brands such as Louis Vuitton.
Research shows that arts education improves the lives of students, increasing their academic, social, mental and economic wellbeing over a long-term period.
"Lalela provides educational arts to at-risk youth to spark creative thinking and awaken the entrepreneurial spirit," Tabatznik explains.
The organisation teaches children how to map and manifest their goals, launching the possibility of a different future for themselves and their communities.
From grade 1 to grade 12, Lalela connects arts to everything important in a child's life, from core academics to critical life skills.
“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 meaningful engagement with the narratives behind the artworks,” says Tabatznik.
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“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,” she adds.
The new range is available through selected retail outlets in the USA, South Africa and Australia, and online via www.thelalelascarf.co.za or www.thelalelascarf.org. All proceeds go towards Lalela.