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Time for Malawi

2/06/11

It’s always nice to see how things are made and where they have come from. In this article we show you how and where most of the fab new Fair+True collection was made and what the production means to the women involved making your skirts.

For the spring/summer collection Fair+True have collaborated with a trust group in Malawi, South Africa called Mayamiko to make the gorgeous African print mini ruched skirts and maxi dresses. Mayamikos aim is to help people lift themselves out of poverty and end injustice. ‘We watch, we listen, we learn, we act. Through skills training, education, nutrition, sanitation and fairer trade practices’.

Malawi is a small landlocked country known for its beautiful landscapes and friendly people. As one of the poorest countries in Africa, life expectancy at birth is only 41 years and 175 out of 1000 children die under the age of 5. Education is key to escape extreme poverty.

Studies show that lifting women out of extreme poverty has amazing effects on reducing under-5 mortality rate and helps to increase the chances of children being healthier and being sent to school to receive education. This is how the “virtuous circle” begins.

That’s why the work that Mayamiko are doing is so important. Combining skills training with a recognised educational programs such as TEVETA, means that women like Ganizo would be able to have a sustainable source of income and a path out poverty. The impact this opportunity has on the entire community is profound and it’s a great way of showing off the beautiful, vibrant African prints.

Cotton is spun locally and a fair price is paid for it. This would benefit women tremendously because of their involvement in the majority of rural agricultural activity. This is a great initiative to empower a deserving group of people and a great cause to support!

So how are your garments made?

After selecting the fabrics – or zitenje as they are known – from the local market to prepare their next orders, the Mayamiko ladies go to the shores of Lake Malawi to pre-wash them all before they even start to cut and sew.

Pre-washing is absolutely essential in order to make sure that the colours won’t run. It also accounts for potential shrinkage, especially with natural fibres. Besides, it will soften the hand of the fabrics and make it easier for the sewing machine to handle.

Once they have been washed, the fabrics are then left to air-dry naturally by lying flat on the sand.

Eco label Fair+True combines fair trade with sustainable fabrics in beautiful, graphic African prints, stripes and animal prints.

The new summer range has been produced by the ladies of Mangochi where the collection sees a mix of gorgeous cotton prints from Malawi and fun, easy-to-wear designs that will be sure winners for the summer!

Shop the collection here

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