High quality, original work, where the materials and labour have been sourced locally and ethically – is exactly what Africa Fashion is all about. Today we turn our attention to Malawi and an exciting, vibrant brand called Mafrika.
For most nations to thrive, they need an open port to encourage trade. For landlocked countries like Malawi, the internet provides a 21st century window through which to show and sell your finest designs.
Founded by Central St Martins College of Art & Design graduate, Sadia Mustafa, in September 2014 – Mafrika has just revealed its Autumn/Winter collection and when you check out the latest designs, you’ll know why we’re so excited.
Sadia began her career with Red Bull, almost a decade ago, working with their F1 team as a sportswear designer. After many years working freelance for a lot of famous brands – mostly as a pattern cutter and garment technician – she joined the Mayamiko Trust at the start of 2012 as a project manager/product developer.
This charity organisation was located in Malawi and focused on giving women affected by HIV or poverty the sewing skills necessary to support themselves. Armed with Sadia’s knowledge, experience and contacts, the trust was able to grow and develop – doing work for multiple international designers.
She left in May 2014 to begin work on Mafrika, which launched last September.
According to Sadia, “Mafrika approaches each design with the aim to create beautifully cut garments that are wearable, versatile and enhance the dynamic colours and patterns used in African prints”.
“All fabrics are hand picked in local markets, working closely with a co-operative of female traders, in order to support the industry and the slowly decreasing demand for original African textiles”.
Below is a selection of shots from Mafrika’s Autumn/Winter collection – but we also encourage you to visit their AW2015/16 Look Book on Facebook and to make direct contact if you’re interested in more of their designs.
Great looking designs with a strong ethical foundation and a subtle mix of past, present and future in each cut – it’s easy to see why this brand is gaining such a following.
To save you hunting through Wikipedia, here’s a quick overview of Malawi.
Although settlers Bantu settlers have been recorded in the area as far back as the 10th century, Malawi itself came into being in 1964 with full independence in 1966. It has a population of more than 16 million, with a diverse range of ethnic groups, mostly spread along the vast Lake Malawi – which occupies more than 20% of the country’s area.
Let us know what you think over on Facebook.
Finally, for those who think a lake is like a large pond, here’s a shot of one tiny part of Lake Malawi!