GALAGO is a footwear brand with a difference. It not only celebrates an African aesthetic, embracing the traditional techniques and craftsmanship renowned on the continent, but also brings in a uniquely customised aspect for the wearer. Fashion entrepreneur and founder, Adhiambo Mula-Lauwers, is tapping into a new design aesthetic that is highly customer centric and very individual.
This month, LoA celebrates the inspirational work of talented design entrepreneur, Adhiambo Mula-Lauwers, and finds out more from her about the process of creating a truly unique and proudly African footwear brand.
"GALAGO is a customer-focused, fashion footwear brand, built and inspired around Africa."
"Galago’s unique advantage in this competitive market, is in allowing the customer to design her own style, a trend-cum-practice perfectly suited for our 21st Century mindsets, for which the right to choice has become a fundamental human right!"
What does your company do?
GALAGO is a customer-focused, fashion footwear brand, built and inspired around Africa.
In embracing the African aesthetic, Galago draws on craft, talent and traditional techniques, creating fresh contemporary products infused with soul. We manufacture and sell African inspired footwear under 2 lines:
Firstly, GALAGO "Design-your-own" concept footwear. These on-trend, handcrafted sandals consist of full leather soles complemented by a variety of interchangeable uppers, utilizing a design-registered technique. Secondly, “Ready-to-wear” footwear consisting of pumps, loafers, and soon to be introduced slip-ons.
"Each sandal has your handprint on it, you choose exactly what combination works for you. Our sandals are interchangeable, that means that each season you can refresh and reuse your soles with brand new uppers."
What inspired you to start your company?
The concept for GALAGO was born through a series of trial and error, made mainly out of the desire to make luxury African footwear.
Where did the inspiration come from for your focus on sandals?
Why sandals? Well, being born and raised in the sunny costal town of Mombasa, where no-one ran around barefoot - wearing sandals was what we did. And there was every kind of sandal! From intricate Masaai beaded ones, to the “Akala” - the hardy tyre sandal. So the design journey began - how could we take it a step further? Why not change colour, style, texture? What if we can could make 7 different styles with one shoe? One for every day of the week? And that is how Galago was born.
"We handcraft our sandals in our sunny studio in downtown Johannesburg, sourcing our raw material in South Africa and employing talent (primarily women) from the community. We are an ethics driven brand, big on Fairtrade, big on Africa."
Why should anyone use your service or product?
Galago’s unique advantage in this competitive market, is in allowing the customer to design her own style, a trend-cum-practice perfectly suited for our 21st Century mindsets, for which the right to choice has become a fundamental human right!
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
The Galago brand is my long-time sartorial dream and I established it in Johannesburg in 2012. My background is in the fashion industry, first as an international model and a regular on the runways of SA Fashion Week, then as a fashion show producer at SA Fashion Week and African Fashion International.
After 7 years as a model I finally followed my entrepreneurial spirit, a trait I think I got from my industrious mother, who also had a love for shoes. For 3 years, I imported luxury shoes from Europe’s most renowned labels and sold them to a loyal local clientele before I realized there was a definite a gap in the local shoe market. I saw a need for locally produced quality footwear.
In addition to bridging the style and price gap, I wanted to create a product that honoured African heritage and today we source all our materials locally, and all our products are expertly stitched and sewn by African hands.
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Why LoA loves it….
There is always that wonderful moment when you see something different being launched into the marketplace, something that captures the imagination. Adhiambo Mula-Lauwers’ unique and proudly African footwear brand, GALAGO, undoubtedly represents that ‘something different’. She has identified a desire for women to express their own individuality through their footwear, customising to the look of these beautifully crafted sandals to suit the mood and dress aesthetic of each day. With her unique creations and design approach, Adhiambo is not only creating accessories that women will love, but also providing a wonderful opportunity to feel part of the design process. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa