Mayamiko is one of those little gems that I found in my search for ethical and sustainable brands. Founded by Paola Masperi, their collections and designs are inspired by African traditions and prints. They are colourful, vibrant and full of life, with patterns and shapes that have been fascinating me ever since I first saw them.
But the best thing about this brand is not only their magnificent collection of clothing and accessories, but the amazing work they do as an ethical brand.
In Malawi, where their main workshop is located, native women are trained and supported to became professionals in the art of tayloring clothing. At the end of their training, they are given the possibility to stay and get a full-time position that comes with all the advantages expected of a job, such as paid holidays, a pension scheme, paid sick leave and regulated working hours. These women often come from disadvantaged backgrounds and this opportunity to work helps them and their families to lead a life of dignity; receiving training, education, work and support really does make an enormous difference for them.
But the positives don’t finish here. All the textiles and materials Mayamiko buys are locally sourced, supporting the region’s economy and reducing their carbon footprint on the planet. They have a wonderful zero waste policy which means that every single piece of textile is used to create something new. Their colourful hair bands are a good example of this, being made with the extra fabric from the production of their clothes. Another great initiative they have is to make reusable sanitary pads for girls and women hat have no access to feminine hygiene products. The pads are made with the scrap fabric, being part of the zero waste programme too, and help these girls to have safer and better sanitation during their periods. You can find more information about this project on their web site here.
I’ve bought 3 tops from this brand and they all are delightfully soft, high-quality garments. You can notice that they have been made by hand because each piece is unique and different. Two of the tops are part of the Gingham Edit Collection, a collection that has been crafted with locally sourced excess fabrics.
Another great collection is the “Save-up-cycled silk collection”. For this one, they have partnered with a social cooperative in Milan, Italy called “Fiore all’Occhiello”. This place provides stable employment for disadvantaged people, refugees and asylum seekers as well as carrying out programmes to help with integration and offering support services in the local community. The workshop is situated close to the silk mill from which they source the up-cycled silk (for those of you not familiar with this term, upcycling is the process of converting old or discarded materials into something new, useful and, as in this case, beautiful too).
In essence, Mayamiko is a role model not for only other fashion brands but for all businesses and people. A magnificent example to follow which could change our understanding of what it means to be and do business.