Knit and crochet enter fashion arena

’MAKERESEMESE LETUKA

MASERU – Handcrafted clothing, part of a slowly emerging fashion movement, is a sustainable alternative to big clothing businesses. Knit and crochet fashion designer Alina Hakane is bent on turning this brand of clothing around in the country by setting new trends. The 27-year-old Hakane exclusively deals in crochet luxury wool clothing and is the owner of Ali Crotchet, which sells wool clothing.

She holds a degree in international business. Alina dedicated all her attention to handcrafted clothing in 2017, and says she has always had a passion to create clothes – which led her to refining her crochet and knitting skills via YouTube. She started seriously taking tutorials and practising all the time until she was confident and satisfied with her products.

She says she is mostly influenced by fashion trends; if something is really the talk of the town then she knows she has to try it out with her crocheting and knitting. She specialises in crochet bikinis but also makes other crochet items like crochet tops, sweaters, dresses, beanies and bucket hats. She also does men’s jerseys, hats and scarfs. “My target market is mostly young ladies because they are the trend setters. We see new and sexy clothing on them and they constitute a large population. Whereas for men I only focus on jerseys, hats and scarfs because they are unisexual and the only items men can purchase. Sales of overalls are seasonal but there has been huge demand from the time I started,” she states.

Asked if she has seen growth in her business since she started, Alina indicates that there is indeed notable growth, adding that her designs change drastically due to the fact that they are influenced by trends but notes that there is growth because a lot of people recommend her to do all their different designs. “My customers want new designs every now and then, depending on what is trending at the moment, so I get to explore different designs all the time and they give me a chance to learn new patterns in crotchet and knitting, which is growth to me,” she says.

However, she adds that her biggest challenge is the unavailability of variety of yarn locally, which she says it is very scarce making it expensive to travel abroad to acquire. On the other hand, she counts her success as having been able to keep her business running regardless of the hardships. She further states that knitting and crocheting is time consuming but when a person gets used to it, it becomes easier. She says now she is faster because she has done it for a longer period.

“My aspirations and dreams are that I honestly want my brand to be for the people, not just specific personnel; for everyone to wear it whether they are famous or just ordinary people and I would also love to have a physical store that will create jobs for other Basotho youth and a great market for my brand in and outside Lesotho,” she says.

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