Mia Nisbet created MIA, a clothing label using second hand clothing sourced in Malawi to create a unique clothing line. While she was studying at the Glasgow School of Art she discovered one of the disturbing side effects of fashion’s fast-consumption model is that old clothes get dumped on markets in Africa. “When these clothes are exported to African countries, it can be devastating to the fashion economy,” she says.
She purchases castoff clothes from street markets and hires local tailors to construct her creative designs, which mix Western styles and locally produced traditional Malawian textiles. Her clothes, sold in boutiques in London and Los Angeles, bring lost fashion wages back to Malawi’s economy. Nisbet hopes her initiative will inspire consumers to look at their own closets differently. “The way the disposable fast fashion market is going these days, it’s important to take stock of what we’ve already got. People don’t realize what they’ve already got in their wardrobe may have the potential to be something different.”
MIA received the ‘Make Your Mark in Fashion’ Innovation award for Ethical Fashion. She said: “My journey since winning the award has been an exciting and fulfilling one. I travelled to Malawi and worked with the tailors to make the collection. Seeing that collection online at Adili.com makes me realise how far I’ve come in a short space of time.”
Content adapted from Ode Magazine’s article.