Search

Teaching friends open first shop selling vibrant African-inspired children’s clothes in Highgate

11:00 25 July 2014

Teachers and clothes-makers Aika Esenalieva and Penny MacInnes open their new children

Teachers and clothes-makers Aika Esenalieva and Penny MacInnes open their new children's clothes shop in Archway Road, Highgate selling clothes made on the premises. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Two friends who teamed up to create bold and vibrant children’s clothes from authentic African fabrics have successfully opened their first shop in Highgate.

Textiles schoolteachers Penny MacInnes, 62, and Aika Esenalieva, 32, travelled the world together in search of inspiration for their Leaping Lizards range of Ghanaian-inspired clothes for youngsters.

Now they have settled in Archway Road, Highgate, to open their first boutique together.

The friends met five years ago when Ms Esenalieva worked with Ms MacInnes’s daughter and the pair hit it off over their shared passion for design and travel.

After sewing together for years, they took the plunge last year to start a range of children’s clothes.

Ms MacInnes, who lives in Archway Road and teaches at Alperton Community School in Brent, said: “I think there is an interest in Africa and African style. I think if you look at the mainstream there are a lot of companies making pseudo-African clothing. There are a lot of animals and life in these fabrics, and every different pattern that you see has a different meaning.”

The business partners, who will both teach at Alperton School from September in a job-share, have moved their workshop into the shop so visitors can watch as they create unusual and colourful clothes.

The pair choose unique fabrics first-hand from Ghana and India, and colourful styles are available for children up to the age of 10.

Ms MacInnes and Ms Esenalieva, who lives in Dalston and currently teaches in Wimbledon, worked tirelessly for a year to promote their range at clothing shows and street markets before raising enough funds to open their first boutique.

In the face of fierce competition from online retailers, the pair are confident that their hand-made clothes will be a hit with Highgate parents.

Ms MacInnes added: “When you have a shop that’s different, where customers see you make the clothes there right in front of you, it makes the shop stand out.

“It’s just about diversity. You try it out and see if it’s going to sell. I think we create interest by the fact that we’re different, and that we’re doing something different.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 17:10
The low rate of burglaries now solved was described as 'very worrying' by the Camden SNB

Burglars breaking into residents’ homes are now getting away with more than 95 per cent of their crimes, figures covering Camden have shown.

Yesterday, 09:48
Chief Supt Richard Tucker, acting Borough Commander of Camden, said the plummit in solved burglaries was down to a change in procedures

Camden’s top police officer has questioned the role his force now plays in dealing with mentally ill residents, warning some of his officers’ actions are having “catastrophic consequences” for vulnerable people.

Yesterday, 07:00
Sarah Cope with children Clementine and Walter, bottom left, and Patrick and Harry Mildren, centre, protest against the estate being earmarked for redevelopment. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Young families and elderly residents who have lived in a housing estate for generations fear their homes could be demolished within a decade under draft redevelopment plans by the council.

Sunday, May 31, 2015
The altercation took place outside this pub in north-west London [Image from Google StreetView]

A 72-year-old man is in hospital with life-threatening head injuries after a fight outside a pub on Swiss Cottage’s Finchley Road on Friday night.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

The latest North London property news and features straight into your inbox.

Other Emails:
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Time to expand with the LeefiBRIDGE.

More iOS memory in a flash: Introducing Leef iBRIDGE.

The sell out 2014 event 32 Londoners, returns to the Coca-Cola London Eye!

The Coca-Cola London Eye is proud to announce that 32 Londoners will be returning this June, following last year’s sell out event. The event will feature 32 talks, in each of the London Eye’s 32 capsules on 32 extraordinary Londoners.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder