As the Malawi fashion scene continues to gather momentum, nothing is more exciting than discovering a brand that people will love and is ethical in its production.
Ethical fashion is on the rise and one of the latest names from Africa to join the movement is Mafrika. The label is an exciting new addition to the growing designing industry; an exciting new fashion brand inspired by vibrant African textile patterns and prints, building a fusion of creativity and expertise across continents.
From Lilongwe to London—where the founder hails—Mafrika offers high quality, exclusive products that are ethically sourced and produced in Malawi.
Founder, Sadia Mustafa, launched Mafrika after spending two years in Malawi working for an ethical fashion charity. Throughout her stay working with Mayamiko Trust, she recognised the skills and talent of local tailors first hand, as well as the need for employment and development.
This is what propelled her to establish a promising sustainable business, that genuinely cares about people by utilising local skills and generating employment, to delivering the finest product to the consumer.
“Mafrika is aimed for fashion conscious consumers who believe in high quality, high fashion, current and conscience clothing. We offer exclusivity on prints selections to individual stockists and on exclusive made to order items. All fabrics are handpicked in local markets, working closely with a co-operative of female traders, to support the industry and the slowly decreasing demand for original African textiles,” said Sadia in an interview after her label launch.
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.
Her 13-piece debut collection on her launch shows a wide range of wearable, versatile looks for young, ethically conscious women.
From T-shirts, shorts and long dresses, to crop tops, miniskirts, crop top tailored trousers, combos, boxy jackets and jumpsuits in bright, bold, beautiful, vibrant prints and colours, Mafrika stunned people that gathered at Amazon Club in Lilongwe.
“I came to work in Malawi for a fashion charity, Mayamiko Trust, which imparts to women and widows with tailoring skills. My role was working with the production unit so that they export and then after finishing my contract I decided to open my fashion company based in Malawi and exporting to the rest of the world, especially the UK and US,” she said.
Sadia has worked in the UK fashion industry for 10 years as a designer, pattern cutter and garment technologist since graduating in 2005. This arguably gives her the expertise to sell in UK and US among other countries where she says there is a readily available market.
“I decided to do a little bit more ethical, but still in fashion and design industry. Basically, my project is to support tailors skills as well as creating jobs. I trained a lot of them as tailors just to be self-reliant. I can sew, but now focusing on doing the initial sampling of the work and giving them directions,” she affirmed.
Establishing her own ethical fashion brand seemed like the natural next step as she moves further up in her career ladder.
She explained: “I am doing what I was trained for. Let me reiterate that I have available market since I am just continuing with what I had been doing in the UK. Mafrika is my label and it’s about being made in Africa. It’s made in Malawi, which is in Africa from African prints and textiles. I am sourcing the fabric locally, designing them for the international market.
“The company was established about two months ago in Chinsapo where production is being done. It is small, but with a big vision. I am empowering people economically while promoting Malawi’s culture.”