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Brand Interview - Paola Masperi from Mayamiko

1. What is Mayamiko?

Mayamiko Designed is a fashion label that fuses together contemporary design with traditional African fabrics to create fashion forward ethical clothing and accessories.

2. Why did you decide to launch a socially responsible label?

Mayamiko was established to help people in Malawi by supporting their creative talents and turning them into sustainable activities. ‘Mayamiko’ helps nurture and encourage communities that are facing economic and social hardship by providing opportunities to use their skills through training and education.

Sophia Mayamiko artisan Sophia Mayamiko artisan

3. What was the inspiration behind the collection?

Mayamiko Designed took their inspiration for the collection from Malawi- its landscape, its people, its traditional fabrics and techniques, and blended this with cutting edge design from the UK to create a truly unique high fashion label.

Ida Clutch Ida Clutch

4. Tell us about the positive impact Mayamiko has made on the people and the environment.

In 2008 I started Mayamiko and established the Malawi Cotton Project to provide skills training, education, nutrition, sanitation and to promote fairer trade practices. Our workshops in Malawi employ women affected by HIV. The education and training given to them is called TEVETA, and leads to recognized qualification. The trainees are taught to manufacture simple necessities, which satisfy the local market demands.

Paola with the Trainees Paola with the Trainees

We also established the Fashion Lab which teaches theses women how to manufacture simple everyday necessities which we export using ethical trade. Mothers that have infants and children to take care of, are able to leave them at our nursery or pre-school where they are looked after, engaged in educational activities and fed healthy and nutritious food.

5. Why is a platform like Fashion ComPassion important for the growth of sustainable fashion businesses?

Although rapidly expanding, the ethical fashion sector is still small and relatively immature. It is hugely important to have platforms like Fashion Compassion who feature fabulous ethical brands and offer consumers a truly credible alternative to regular designer and high street fashion.

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