Lalo launches line of locally made kids' clothing
Most mothers of boys agree that the clothing selection is extremely limited. Boys' clothes are often blue or brown and, if they have an image, it's of a train, a truck or an animal. Anne Bisone realized this soon after her son Xander was born 2 1/2 years ago, and so she started sewing clothes for him.
"The options for dressing him were few, colorless and ugly. It didn't feel right to put him in clothes that didn't reflect his vibrant personality," says Bisone.
Bisone enjoyed the clothes-making process so much -- and received such positive feedback from friends -- that she started selling her little folks' fashion at the East Side Green Market under the business name "Lalo," which is how Xander pronounced the word "yellow." Recently, she launched a Web site and continues to sell at markets and craft fairs.
Bisone credits her partner, Ray Chi, for making it happen. Chi designed and manages the Web site, takes the photos, builds clothing racks and takes care of Xander while Bisone sells at shows.
"I couldn't do this without both of them," she says.
Bisone says becoming a mother changed her personal and professional goals, and she saw this happen with other moms, too. One friend started a full-time writing career, another started a business. Bisone, who graduated from MIAD in 1997, was a painter. When she was a kid, however, her grandmother taught her to sew and she was inspired to return to the art form.
"I realized soon after Xander was born that my need to create was intense. It had always been a huge part of who I was and I needed it back. I felt lost and empty without it, so, I started sewing again," she says.
Bisone creates all of the patterns and every piece of clothing is handmade and one-of-a-kind. Bisone welcomes fabric and clothing donations for her pieces, which range in size from 6 months to 4 years. Most of the items are gender neutral and made from reclaimed fabric.
"I love the limitations and challenges that go along with finding material and then creating with it," says Bisone.
Bisone says the response to Lalo, so far, is very positive and this reinforces that she is doing the right thing professionally as well as what she believes in philosophically.
"I believe children should wear really fun, colorful, comfortable and durable clothing. I personally felt the need and thought that there must be other like-minded people out there and luckily there are," she says.
Owning her owning clothing business also teaches her son the importance of buying local and handmade.
"Often Xander asks me, 'Mama, who made that?' It is nice to be able to answer that question with an actual person's name," she says.
Anne...I'm so glad to see that Lalo is still going strong. Congratulations! (Maria)
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