Malimo: A Fair Fashion Brand and its Origin

India, January 2016. Two people. One idea. Their mission: To build a fair fashion brand. Experience: 0. Motivation: 100%. First product: Upcycling sari bomber jackets. Final edition: Early August 2020.

When Isabell and Johannes were finishing their world trip in early 2016, they had already made a decision: They wanted to build their own brand. In India, they were carried away by the colors, patterns, textiles, and generally everything they didn’t know from Germany.

Isabell: “The color and pattern combinations in India are simply unique. The people there know how to combine them.”

Upcycling of Second-Hand Saris

In Rajasthan, one thing led to another, and Isabell and Johannes met Bunty, our current tailor. Between Chai (Indian tea with milk) and Beedis (Indian leaf cigarettes), Bunty presented them mountains of faulty saris. They have small flaws and cannot be sold. So the idea was to make smaller garments from the large fabrics. By cutting and processing the flaws are removed and no longer visible in the finished jacket – Upcycling. This way we do not produce additional waste and can even reduce existing waste.

Upcycling Prozess BTS
Upcycling Prozess BTS2

Tinder for Fabrics

Exactly one jacket can be produced from each sari. This makes each upcycling bomber unique. The fabrics are all personally selected by Isabell and this results in funny video calls to India with Bunty and his employees: They show Isabell a pre-selection of saris in different colors and patterns and Isabell works her way through them like on Tinder. “Yes, yes, no, yes, no, no.”

What makes Malimo a Fair Fashion Brand?

Bunty employs 3 more people in his tailor shop: Mukesh, Moti, and Radhey. Each upcycling jacket is expertly and lovingly made by passionate tailors. They work in a safe environment for a fair wage and get holidays. Unfortunately, certification was not yet possible for us, as a young start-up. But we have met our tailors very often and have regular contact via video calls. Through this, we know the situation in the tailor shop very well. More about our philosophy.

Final Edition from the Beginning of August

Over the years, the sari bombers as you know them today were created and shaped Malimo as a funky and fair fashion brand. Feedback from customers, shop owners, friends, and relatives ensured constant improvements in cutting and production. At the beginning of August 2020, we will release the last edition of the sari upcycling jacket and then say goodbye to this Malimo staple. We are growing, learning, and developing further and are ready for a new step – a new upcycling piece.

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