Lazuli Sets Up Shop in Canal Walk

Posted on September 23, 2013

“All eyes on us, all eyes on our brand, and what we have created.” —Layla Cassim, for Lazuli

Layla and Zarah Cassim’s entry into the fashion world was fairly organic: when they were young, their father owned a stall in Cape Town’s tourist hotspot market, Greenmarket Square, where he sold clothing. His specialisation in denim and all-natural, locally-produced fabrics influenced his daughters, who started designing and making their own clothes in their first year of university.

Zarah says, “The reason why we actually started Lazuli is because we had a specific style and we couldn’t find clothing in South Africa that fitted that style—affordable clothing. We wanted good quality, affordable, [and] fashionable, all at the same time. So we just started making our own clothing.” Their friends took notice, compliments rained down—and the idea for the Lazuli brand was born.

The sisters founded Lazuli together with their mother, Foziah, who is also a designer, and the brand’s growth has been nothing short of phenomenal. In a brief space of time they went from having an idea for a one-of-a-kind clothing concept, to selling clothes made to order from their own home, to opening a store in Cape Town’s favourite factory outlet complex Access Park, before showcasing at the 2013 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town. Now, we are catching up with them at the next exciting stage in their impressive upward trajectory: the launch of the Lazuli concept store in Canal Walk—one of Africa’s biggest malls.

When we asked Layla how she was feeling in the hours before the launch, she replied, “So nervous… so so nervous and excited and anxious [all] at the same time… Because it’s our launch tonight! Finally, the moment we’ve been waiting for—showing the Lazuli brand to the public. And [it's] all eyes on us, all eyes on our brand and what we have created.”

The duo attributes their success to their brand’s focus on quality and the many sacrifices they have made in the pursuit of fashion glory. Both Layla and Zarah are still students, so they constantly juggle their time between the operations of Lazuli and their equally demanding academic requirements.

As they learn more about what it means to be businesswomen in South Africa, they feel proud of and motivated by the fact that they are able to contribute to the employment of South Africans—no small feat considering their relative youth. Their accomplishments certainly inspire us here at I am Youngpreneur.

Sharon Green, Editor of I am Youngpreneur, @SharonGreen305