Lots to choose from, but nothing to wear. Fashion was boring and the same. And that’s the genesis of Ashley Battle’s fashion brand, The Lot.
When she couldn’t find clothes that spoke to her fashion sense or matched the clobber at retail with the trends she saw in fashion magazines, Battle decided to create her own brand to dress her style with a tangible fashion
That was fourteen years ago. And what started as a loose collection of international and local brands eventually transformed into a recognizable style imprint. Today The Lot has standalone stores and department store windows in Cape Town and Johannesburg with plans to grow organically across the country.
Ashley Battle has a lot of energy. It is contagious in any kind of conversation and engagement with her. But he knows his fashion and has an unending passion to talk about his first love. He is a motivated person whose diary is as busy as his ambition.
But it wasn’t all skirts and shirts for a young battle. His parents wanted him to study and become a nine-to-five person.
She said: “Fashion was always my dream and founding The Lot was almost an accidental realization of my ideal. I got to live my passion and since my student days I have never had a day job” .
Battle deejayed during his college years, saved money and invested it all in his fledgling business.
She said that while online makes up a good portion of her business right now, it wasn’t always that way, and retail used to be the lifeblood of entrepreneurs like her. It was really the pandemic that pushed online shopping to the fore.
She said: “I think Covid accelerated the inevitable as online shopping was seeing a lot of growth before.”
Today, The Lot runs a successful digital business with a departmental storefront on sites like Takealot and Superbalist. In physical life, Battle has just opened a large presence in the Rosebank store of artisan department store We Are Egg.
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When Battle started, much of his fashion was imported. But that has changed. She said: “We manufacture a lot of our own range, which has been something we’ve evolved more and more over the years.” In The Lot’s catalog, several other local brands have also joined the Battle effort.”
And what started as a unisex brand has evolved into a focus exclusively on women’s clothing. El Lot is also made up of an all-female team.
Battle said: “We are a team, a family, and I am very grateful for the successes we have been able to achieve. It takes everyone’s input and hard work to make the company work, and without my colleagues it would have been impossible to raise the scale of realization”.
Battle said the empowerment of women is reflected in fashion. And we see it everywhere. There’s more skin in the game, the garments and fabrics are more revealing and daring, and at the same time, they’re not blatantly rude. It is feminine sensuality in a new world of liberation.
Battle said: “I think it’s a reflection of the feeling of wanting to be liberated and empowered. There’s also a difference between a lot of skin and me maybe pushing the boundaries, but in a classy way. And I think that’s where it’s at. No it’s not just about showing as much as possible, but about being fearless, fierce and free, maybe pushing the boundaries.”
Battle added: “I think that after the last three years where the world has been so conservative and so restricted, largely due to the pandemic and the global geopolitical situation, fashion reflected that mood. I think this is the first summer season that people feel really free again. And we definitely see that in the trends.”
Lots of colour, lots of sheer and lots of cutouts and naughty but nice fashion is the order of the day.
She said: “I think people want to reflect how they feel in what they wear. Fashion is obviously a huge expression of that. So it’s definitely a fun, colourful, fabulous summer and the trends are on us demonstrating”.