Meet The Artisan: Amanda Laird Cherry

The Rock Paper Scissors Insider gives you a closer look into legendary South African fashion brand, Amanda Laird Cherry.

Established in 1996, Amanda Laird Cherry has had a significant influence in shaping the South African fashion landscape. Amanda's labels have been represented at South African Fashion Week, The Design Indaba, South African Menswear Week and London Fashion Week Expo.

The brand has won countless accolades such as: 2019 Fashion designer of the year at the world fashion awards in London, 2019 change maker award at the inaugural TWYG sustainable fashion awards and oh soo much more.

We at Rock Paper Scissors are honoured to stock ALC- a brand we deeply admire and look up to. We love the stories ALC tells of clothing and culture through well considered fabrics and cuts. Here is a little bit more of that story.

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Can you tell us a little about the history of your brand? How did it get started, and what motivated you to create it? 

Amanda Laird Cherry officially opened as an operationalbusiness in February of 1996 and began supplying the DurbanDesigner Emporium and other boutiques around South Africa.Amanda co-founded The Space in 1999, currently extending to8 outlets around South Africa as well as online. In November 2014, they branched out with the Space+MAN store,established to house exclusively menswear-focused brands, including her revived menswear label, ALC menswear. Space+MAN is located at The Zone in Rosebank. In 2020, Amanda opened the doors to her first-ever stand-alone store, which is located in The Watershed at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town.

What inspires your brand and your designs? Do you draw upon any particular influences or themes in your work? 

We focus on telling the stories behind clothing and culture, and adedication to authentic, responsible production, we appeal toa range of customers.Our style language combines the deep experience of the SouthAfrican lifestyle and context with classic Asian influences, andwe are known for our range of considered basics, separatesand statement pieces. Importantly, by taking familiar stylesand silhouettes and updating them with unexpected and avant-garde twists, our garments are wearable and distinctive. 


image via, instagram, alc_woman, alca______

What are some of the challenges you've faced as a local South African brand, and how have you overcome them? 

As a South African brand, we've grappled with challenges common in the clothing industry. These include higher production costs, logistical hurdles, and changing consumer preferences. To overcome these obstacles, we've focused on quality and sustainability, forged strong partnerships with local suppliers and manufacturers, and expanded our presence to reach a broader audience, helping us adapt and thrive. We also have very loyal ALC customers, who we appreciate beyond measure and who make all the difference.

Can you tell us about some materials and techniques you use in your designs? How do you choose the materials you work with? 

Inspired by sustainability and local support, our brand exclusively sources materials from South African fabric suppliers, with a preference for natural fabrics. We've embraced digital printing to craft custom patterns and adjust colours and sizes as needed, offering a world of creative possibilities. When choosing materials for our designs, we carefully consider each garment's requirements, opting for stiffer fabrics for structure and softer, flowing fabrics for comfort. This commitment to quality, sustainability, and local craftsmanship defines our brand's ethos.

image via, instagram series PEOPLE OF AMANDA LAIRD CHERRY, alc_woman

How do you approach sustainability and ethical practices in your brand? Are there any initiatives or practices you've implemented to reduce your environmental impact? 

Sustainability is at the core of our brand. We've minimised waste by using offcuts and upcycled materials and always attempt to over-dye unused fabric. This approach reduces environmental impact and adds a unique character to our designs.

image via, instagram series PEOPLE OF AMANDA LAIRD CHERRY, alc_woman

What do you hope customers will experience or feel when they interact with your brand and products? 

We hope our customers experience a sense of empowerment and self-acceptance when they interact with our brand and products. We also want our customers to experience the joy of wearing a beautiful, locally-made garment.


image via, instagram, alc_woman, alca______

How do you see your brand evolving in the future? Are there any new projects or collaborations in the works? 

In the future, we aim to continue celebrating our unique strengths in our designs. We are exploring collaborations that align with our brand philosophy and may expand into new projects that resonate with our audience.

We are particularly excited that Amanda Laird Cherry is set to launch a new label, ALCA. This label holds deep personal significance for Amanda and the entire team. ALCA will offer designer apparel with an edge, including women's and menswear, embodying the ideals of authentic and responsible fashion. Customers can expect approachable, elevated separates. Each garment is crafted with the wearer's personal style in mind, encouraging self-expression through trans-seasonal pieces.

image via, instagram, alc_woman, alca______

What advice would you give to other local South African brands looking to succeed in the industry? OR What advice do you have for other aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start their own brand or business? 

To other South African brands and aspiring entrepreneurs, we'd advise embracing your uniqueness. Don't shy away from your flaws; celebrate them and use them as a source of inspiration. The fashion industry is diverse, and there is a place for brands that offer something truly distinctive.

Finally, Can you share with us some of your favourite products or collections that you have created and why they are special to you?

Every collection holds a special place in our hearts, but the one inspired by Sashiko and celebrating imperfection is particularly dear to us. It embodies our core values and philosophy, making it a unique and meaningful collection.

Amanda Laird Cherry "sashiko" 

We are so grateful for the opportunity to get to know the ALC team a bit better, and to share their journey and future plans with you. You can shop a selection of the latest ALCA range with us in store at Rock Paper Scissors- it's frikken gorgeous.

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