| Linen clothing by South African sisters |
We are a small business based in South Africa - dreamed up by two sisters and brought to life with our very savvy business partner, Doug Heale.
Growing up around women who valued natural fibres and good quality garments that were made to last, we wanted to do our small part in changing the narrative in the fashion industry, while also contributing to the lives of women in South Africa.
L|L started while Gab was competing her internship as a doctor in a state hospital near Durban. She was faced daily with the heartbreaking stories of women trapped in abusive relationships with no way of leaving and supporting themselves. After having studied long degrees in both medicine and veterinary, we were looking for a creative project and the idea was born. We sent a few of Gabs' ex-patients on sewing courses and bought them sewing machines while Gab started designing the linen garments and Liv created the online shop, social media and brand. The business started small with just a few pieces per design and every design was named after a patient whose story had touched Gabs in some way. A few years later the business moved to Cape Town and those original seamstresses started their own sewing school, teaching women from their community how to sew.
We are passionate about slow and conscious consumerism, drawing on nature for inspiration and uplifting where possible. Due to all our products being hand made (as well as the need to move away from mass consumerism) we produce a limited number of each design. And where possible we use natural elements to make every piece and do our best to tread as lightly as we can on this beautiful planet.
We love being able to connect with you through L | L, and share the parts of this world that bring us joy.
Thank you for joining us on this journey.
G A B R I E L L E
Hi, I’m Gabrielle. I am one of the founders and owners of Liv & Light. I graduated from Stellenbosch University in 2016 as a medical doctor. I am a firm believer in a more integrative approach to healing and I am in the process of specialising in neurology. I am particularly drawn to working with underprivileged women and children in South Africa. Let’s see where life takes me!
Being raised by an artist in a very creative home, myself and my sister have always had an appreciation for the arts and creativity. As we are both in the medical field, Liv and I wanted to find a creative outlet and Liv & Light has become just that.
I have always loved fashion and clothing and remember designing countless outfits out of bed sheets and plastic bags and towels. When we initially started Liv & Light back in 2018, we had put a small group of my ex-patients through sewing courses to empower them with skills instead of hand-outs. I would then design simple garments and the ladies would sew them up and that’s how Liv & Light was born! Although we now also use a small CMT to help keep up with orders, my dream is to continue this kind of upliftment work with South African women and maybe one day we will have hundreds of women feeling empowered and excited about their own lives and ambitions. That’s the dream.
Outside of medicine and clothing design, I am also a huge ocean lover and vehement traveler. I am happy to be dressed up and sipping chilled rosé on a Cape wine farm but equally happy in a pair of old shorts and hiking boots, with a backpack and a tent, exploring the world.
I am married to a wonderful man who also happens to be an owner of Liv & Light and growing and learning together through this business venture has been one of the most exciting, terrifying and formative experiences for us as a couple as well as business partners.
Thanks for following along and believing in our vision. We are excited to have you here.
O L I V I A
Hi there, I’m Liv. Part founder of L | L with my wonderful sister and brother-in-law.
Having grown up on a farm in the Lowveld surrounding the Kruger National Park, conservation has always been my first love and I’ve been lucky enough to pursue a career as a vet and contribute to meaningful projects.
Nature has always been an immense source of comfort, inspiration and joy for me, and I love exploring my connection to it through creativity and introducing others to its wonder.
L|L has been one of those creative endeavours and I've loved the process of creating a meaningful business with Doug and Gabs.
Thank you for your love, energy and support on this journey.
T H E S E W I N G C A F E
During the process of moving L|L to Cape Town, as well as increasing our production, we made the decision to outsource our garment making. We started looking for a partner who would align with the ethos behind our business, while staying true to how we started by up-skilling women and giving them a chance of creating a life for themselves. When we found the Sewing Cafe we knew it was the perfect fit!
With the talented and driven Cari and Athene at the helm of this great initiative, they have up-skilled hundreds of unemployed people from Masiphumelele and Ocean View in Cape Town since their inception in 2012. They are a professional CMT offering both pattern-making and sampling, and we were finally able to hand this important but incredibly time-consuming aspect of the business over to these amazing women and the Sewing Cafe team.
The hundreds of students of the Sewing Cafe are either employed full or part-time by the Sewing Cafe or elsewhere in the sewing sector, or they have gone on to start their very own businesses. The Sewing Cafe also offers an afternoon sewing club for learners from the nearby schools, as well as a hub where entrepreneurs can start their own businesses.
It is a special organisation that we are very proud to have partnered with.
If you would like more information, please have a look at their website: www.thesewingcafe.co.za
Images provided to the Sewing Cafe by Michael Wiswedel