Kassim Lassissi (SK 2016), presents Allëdjo, a fashion label that celebrates the world’s cultures

25 March 2020

Kassim Lassissi, a SKEMA graduate of the Class of 2016, has started his own fashion label, Allëdjo. Based in Paris, he draws inspiration from his African culture and fulfils his passion for travel and fashion.

Can you tell us what you’ve been up to since graduating from SKEMA?

Everything is still so clear in my memory. It’s like it was yesterday! My studies ended with an internship at a media company in Paris. After that experience of employment, I decided to give entrepreneurship a go. It’s something I never would have imagined before. I launched the Allëdjo label in 2018. 

How did the Allëdjo label come about?

After taking stock of my personal and professional experience, my failures and successes, my strong and weak points, I came to the conclusion that I could only work if I was driven by passion and that was why I had such trouble motivating myself as an employee. My passions are travel and fashion. I found a way to combine them and that is how the label was born.  

Why the name Allëdjo?

Allëdjo means nomad, traveller in Yoruba, my mother’s native tongue. I wanted to show the nomadic side of the label, a label that is constantly in motion. “People live, they come and go”. We are here to celebrate the cultures of the world.

What is the concept behind the label?

Each collection corresponds to a destination. The destination is reflected in the choice of prints. Everything that represents a destination, the fauna, the flora, the colours... And our mission is to celebrate the world’s cultures while showcasing African craftsmanship. The collections are produced in Africa, currently in Senegal. My preferred distribution channels are e-commerce and pop-up stores, which I run several times a year in different cities (Paris, Abidjan, Mykonos).

Where is the label at right now? What are your plans?

The label is still quite small. It’s making progress slowly but surely, with a lot of positive feedback from customers, who like the message but also the creativity of the pieces and the quality of the materials. Today, our goal is to step up our communication to publicise the label. Long term, our ambition is to set up a production facility on the African continent with very strong ethical values.  

How has your SKEMA education helped with Allëdjo?

At SKEMA, I did a master’s in International Marketing and Business Development. That taught me skills like how to make a business plan and how to approach customers and the international marketplace. My customers can be anywhere in the world and I know how to communicate with them.

Who are your biggest role models and sources of inspiration, and why?

I don’t have any great role models or any particular source of inspiration. I travel a lot, so that nourishes me and influences me, particularly in my relationship to colour and light. My motivation is also to create what I cannot find elsewhere. 

Can you tell us a little about your collections?

Since the label started, we have launched 4 collections. Actually, collection isn’t really the right word. I’d say ‘drops’, ‘releases’ or ‘tracks’. We haven’t figured out the right term yet, but we’re working on it. Creativity is always in motion. We have one destination per year, with 2 drops as part of that. Our pieces are printed, comfortable, casual and fluid shirts and sets. Allëdjo clothing is unisex. It is for men and women with a penchant for originality. Men looking for an alternative to white shirts and women who like to dip into the modern man’s wardrobe.

Where did the inspiration come from? 

My collections flow on from my travels. The destinations have to inspire me and the places have to have left a mark on me. My goal is to reflect the essence of my travels in my creations. First, I start with the energies I feel in the cities I visit. I need to be in total symbiosis with the city and soak in the local culture. I gather material and I explore every part of the city. Then I work on mood boards, composed exclusively of photos I have taken. Next, I do some extra research online, in archives and the press, to tweak the spirit of the collection. 

What is your favourite piece in your collection?

I would wear them all. But I’d say that for each season I always have one piece that stands out. This season it’s the Segg set, a set with a brown, feline-looking print. And actually, it has sold out!

What is the message behind your label?

It’s very simple: celebrate the world’s cultures while showcasing African craftsmanship.  

What is your signature style?

Travel, prints, silk, lightness…

How do you want people to feel when they wear your creations?

Wearing our clothing is a pause in daily life. An escape from routine, an escape from difficulties... towards serenity and a peaceful state. Setting aside the fact that they are beautiful, our clothes are incredibly pleasant to wear. They caress the skin and move fluidly.

What are your ambitions for the future?

To give a more positive view of Africa and contribute to its development by building a production plant over there. 

What advice would you give a student who wants to become a fashion designer?

I haven’t achieved my goals yet, so I don’t feel ready to give advice just yet. But I would say: be passionate, passionate, passionate and you’ll need good business sense (or find someone who has it so they can help you). Because the point is to also make a living! 

For more information, visit 
Allëdjo or contact Kassim Lassissi