Amanda Laird Cherry

One of South Africa's most established fashion designers

Amanda is one of a small handful of South African designers who has historically fused the development of her clothes with that of the country. Her collections over the past three decade have presented a different kind of reconciliation process, one which unites our intersecting histories into a collective present. She is both artist and storyteller; telling personal and political stories with cloth and thread.

 

Her collections are widely distributed in South Africa, and she was involved in product that went to Liberty of London.

The Amanda Laird Cherry label includes ladieswear, accessories made in collaboration with local crafters and skills-building organisations, and ALC Menswear made in collaboration with fresh talent Brendan Sturrock.

"Those who think of clothing exclusively in terms of this or next season’s fashion are missing the point a little. The fabrics and the cuts we wear tell us

about society."

amanda laird cherry

amanda laird cherry & brendan sturrock

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“When i was trying to decide what to do with my life, first choice was drama, second was fine art and third was fashion,” remembers Amanda, the warm, wonderfully down to earth owner and designer of the Amanda Laird Cherry label. The eventual decision to choose door three came naturally with Amanda’s business leanings, and with fashion linking all three passions; drawing and creating, the drama of fashion shows and telling a story through a range as well as a love of clothing, proportion and fabric texture.

 

Amanda studied at Technikon Natal, got married in her first year and then worked for surfer Shaun Tomson’s label, Instinct. With ten years spent in a whirl of international travel; ... attending and selling at trade shows in Germany, Paris, Las Vegas and L.A, checking on fabric dyeing in Hong Kong, checking on production at their Lesotho factory, and meeting agents in Europe and America. Amanda learnt the intricacies of running a fashion label in all its glamorous and not so glamorous detail. After those years of intense business experience, she took on experience of another kind with the birth of her two kids. “There is nothing more important than your kids” exclaims Amanda on motherhood.

 

Around this time, Neil Roake and Colleen Eitzen were setting up the DDE stores. Amanda agreed to get involved with her then non-existent label, finding out two weeks later she was pregnant with her son Ethan. Then followed a fairly frenetic time: designing a range, sourcing fabric and CMT’s around downtown Durban with her little Volkswagen Golf as her office, all with a steadily growing belly.

DDE eventually transformed into the Space stores, where Greg and Roche Dry of Egg Designs got involved, and as they grew so did Amanda’s business. Currently the ALC label operates from a buzzing factory in Durban with rails of the Amanda Laird Cherry extensive archives framing the warehouse space and rows of cheerful women working sewing machines below.

 

Despite it’s impressive size and scores of employees, the factory is just the studio space for ALC. Smaller runs or complicated items are done in house, including the innovative new ALC Menswear range designed by Brendan Sturrock. ALC then outsources to other local CMT factories. All ALC shoes, bags and belts are made through local factories and crafters. The deserved success of ALC has led to sustaining the livelihoods of so many South Africans and their families, and their loving work can be seen in every detail of the beautiful ALC ranges that grace the Space stores.

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