Meet new Christchurch start-up Mallu. This is not your average streetwear label, these guys are UC students and this is a social enterprise using only fairtrade fabrics! They showcased their tees at the UC Fairtrade Market.
Who runs Mallu and what do you do at UC? We are Clive Antony (BA/LLB) – Sales and Marketing; Megan Gerrard (BCom) – Logistics and Operations; and Jess Langtry (BFA) – Creative.
You just launched your own fairtrade label, can you tell us a bit about that? Mallu is a fairtrade streetwear clothing label. We started with long-sleeve tees made from organic and fairtrade cotton. We import the tees and print our own designs on them, which follow the street fashion vibe of New Zealand. However, our business runs deeper than just producing clothes that make you look awesome! We’ve hooked up with a factory in India that only employs woman who have been taken out of the local sex trade.
What are your aims/ambitions with the business? We’d love to be able to provide a whole range of streetwear clothing and be a leader in filling the ethical streetwear gap in the market.
What or who inspired you guys to do this? Freeset Global is an organisation we partner with. Freeset is a fairtrade factory based in Kolkata, India, and their point of difference is that they only employ women who have been taken out of the local sex trade. They give them the choice to leave a trade they never chose in the first place. Freeset have a campaign to build a second factory, which will provide important community services to their employees. When our customers buy a Mallu t-shirt, $2 of every tee goes to the Freeset campaign fund.
That’s awesome! Why is Fairtrade important for you? Fairtrade is important to us because we all have a strong passion for sustainable business and social enterprise. Fairtrade allows us to start a business that does more than make our customers feel good about how they look, but also allows us to make a tangible difference to communities in developing countries
Any challenges in choosing to go the fairtrade route? PLENTY of challenges: suppliers worldwide are extremely limited and due to the scarcity it makes it a lot more expensive.
In five/ten years’ time, what would you like to be doing? We would love Mallu to become a well established brand in New Zealand with a lot more products, which would allow us to be the the leading ethical alternative in the streetwear fashion scene.