The Mozambican duo, Nelly and Nelsa Guambe are self-taught design sisters who champion sustainable fashion, using recycled materials to create collections in their label, Mima-te. The siblings focus on who designs that not only make their clients stand out, but also feel comfortable.
Their fashion label, Mima-te, a Portuguese word for ‘spoil one’s self’ was launched in 2010. The sisters say they chose that name for their label because they want their clients to feel ‘spoilt in the luxury and elegance afforded by their designs.
“Our intention is to up cycle and renew these textile, bringing those forgotten clothes back to life and turn them into fashionable, modern clothing. Clothes which have been given by people in the West to Africa much too often ends up as waste. Upcycling these clothes therefore becomes an innovative way of creating a new image of Mozambican clothing and at the same time serves to harness environmental awareness, both in Mozambique and in the origin countries of these clothes.”
The cycle of their dresses:
- A designer in North America, Europe or Australia designs a dress.
- This design is sent to China, Bangladesh or Cambodia where they brand new product are produced.
- This new product is then sent to Europe and North America where they are sold.
- After wearing new clothes for or a while or not been sold people throw them. They are bundled together in big containers and come to Mozambique or other African countries.
- A “middle man” buys these bundles of throw away clothes in certain quantity from the US or Europe.
- These bundles are then separated based on the type of clothes to the final vendor who sells them in big informal markets where the dresses can be bought by Mozambicans who cannot afford new clothes. Most Mozambicans never in their life own a new piece of clothing.
- By reaching the big markets in Africa most people think that a piece of clothing has reached its final destination. Mima-te doesn’t think so: We recycle and renew these old textiles that we find at informal markets in Mozambique and turn them into fashionable clothing.