Part of House and Leisure‘s Next Generation talent for 2017, Alexis Barrell started local lifestyle brand Karu with her childhood friend Fiona Mackay. Although she was born in Johannesburg, Barrell is currently based between India, New York City and Cape Town. Her frequent travels led her to ponder the concept of ‘home’, concluding that, for her, it would always be firmly rooted in South Africa. ‘After years of moving around the world, I can only dream of the easy and simple Karoo lifestyle. I try to incorporate that sense of slowness and consideration into my world, and I wanted to bring that into other busy people’s lives through the products we make,’ she says.
Barrell and Mackay are in the process of launching Karu in SA, the UK and the US, with their next pop-ups on home soil set to take place in December. ‘Karu is the culmination of every project I have done,’ Barrell says. ‘It is truly personal. I turned away from trends and market research and am creating from a pure space, with an attitude of appreciation. I work with people who inspire me, especially the makers, and I feel like we are doing something meaningful within the world of design, which is a world I had become slightly disillusioned with.’ The block-printed handwoven linen kimonos are Barrell’s favourite Karu product, and these versatile pieces can be worn as gowns, jackets or dresses.
Take a look at some of Karu’s beautiful textiles and clothing below, and get your copy of the August #HLNextGenIssue to read our full feature on this creative entrepreneur.