Fashion director Shelly Vella in the green room with Mayamiko

Each week I celebrate a brand committed to creating clean, green collections that won’t cost the earth whilst never compromising on quality or style. This week I’m pouring over the rails of one of my favourite ethical companies – Mayamiko.

Founded by Paola Masperi in 2015, the label first came to my attention when Meghan Markle wore the Dalitso dress during the 2019 tour of Africa with Prince Harry. With ethics and sustainability firmly at its core, it’s no surprise that Mayamiko caught Meghan’s attention.

Meghan in Mayamiko
Getty Images

Central to the brand’s being is The Mayamiko Trust, (formed by Paola in 2008) created to bring opportunities to disadvantaged women by providing artisanal tailoring training and living wage employment. The Trust reinvests into the local Malawi community and was set up to offer women a recognised qualification, along with continuous mentoring, guidance and access to a micro-finance scheme. By enabling them to start their own businesses or continue working for the brand, Mayamiko is able to lift women out of poverty and towards a better future. Also benefitting the local community, the brand creates ‘Positive Pads’ with ‘waste’ material – which are donated to girls in the Malawi community and refugee camps, to help fight period poverty.

Of course, alongside ticking all the above boxes, they simply make beautiful clothes, stunningly crafted from African chitenje fabrics into chic, modern cuts.  Everything from the fair price points to the happy-making prints will brighten your day. I’m smitten.

Mayamiko
Mayamiko

Aretha Frills Bodice Dress in Blue Foliage, £119

Three words that sum up Mayamiko?

Joyful, Celebratory, Storied

Mayamiko

Victoria Sleeveless Shirt Dress in Purple Flora, £99

What does sustainability mean to you?

Contributing to the wellbeing of people and the planet by acting in harmony with the environment. Creating a sustainable future and telling stories about people and materials.

Mayamiko
Mayamiko

Precious Milkmaid Mini Dress in Golden Leaf, £89

What eco-conscious processes do you have in place?

We are proud of the many processes we have in place throughout the production of our pieces. From design (zero waste, cross-seasonal, multi-way); to material selection (locally sourced, deadstock, reclaimed, certified); to the production processes (solar energy, water recycling, upcycling of cutting room waste); and packaging (no plastic, working with a social impact warehouse, options to plant trees to offset) and finally, treating people well.

It’s also important to us to be a seasonless and zero greenwashing company and our next step is to promote circularity with rent partnership, repair and alterations on the table too.

Mayamiko
Mayamiko

Ester Tie Up Peplum Top in Turquoise Cells, £44

Do you have any highlights from this past year?

Really just surviving COVID, keeping people safe and protected, strengthening the team and our community of supporters. We’ve also been working on some partnerships with new artisans to bring their products to our community.

Mayamiko
Mayamiko

Cynthia Peplum Top in Blue Reptilian, £39

What’s your bestselling piece?

The Dalitso dress (worn by Meghan Markle) variations are always in demand, so too is the milkmaid dress, the oversized Bermudas and our jewellery.

Shop Shelly’s favourite pieces:

Mayamiko
Mayamiko

Precious Milkmaid Mini Dress in Blue Foliage, £89

Mayamiko
Mayamiko

Loveness Frilly Shirt in Oatmeal Linen, £89

Mayamiko
Mayamiko

Zikomo One Shoulder Bodycon Dress in Golden Leaf Print,  £79

Mayamiko
Mayamiko

Matilda Milkmaid Top in Yellow Linen, £59

Mayamiko
Mayamiko

Amanda Flared Maxi Skirt in Golden Leaf, £79

Mayamiko
Mayamiko

Regina Robe in Blue Peacock, £79

Mayamiko
Mayamiko

Hamba Glass Beads Earrings, £44

Shop Mayamiko online here and read the brand’s ethical promise here