This week we caught up with Manimekala Fuller, Founder of the zero-waste brand Manimekala.
CAN YOU TELL OUR READERS WHO HAVE NEVER HEARD OF MANIMEKALA, A BIT MORE ABOUT YOUR BRAND?
I started Manimekala immediately after graduating and am developing it while on the University of Westminster’s Graduate Venture Accelerator programme. Manimekala is a brand based on a dream: beautiful fashion that empowers both the wearer and the makers. We create unique, contemporary luxury fashion by combining design with a meaningful social mission, working in partnership with social enterprises to empower marginalised women and support their communities. Bold and eclectic, our unique statement clothes are for those who want to stand out. Manimekala wants to do more than make beautiful clothes; we want to transform lives.
WE’VE HEARD IT REFERRED TO AS ‘ZERO-WASTE’, WHAT EXACTLY DOES THIS MEAN?
Fashion has a huge waste problem, especially in terms of wasted and leftover materials. There’s a phrase that “waste is a design flaw” and this really inspires me to rethink how I can use these leftovers, but in a well-designed way so that they don’t necessarily look like leftovers. I create seasonal collections and use the remnant materials from these to create new pieces. By highlighting the issue of waste through creating unique, one-off pieces, I hope to inspire my customers to rethink their relationship to “waste”.
YOU OBVIOUSLY CARE A GREAT DEAL ABOUT YOUR SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT, WHERE DID THIS GREAT PASSION COME FROM?
My studies were focused purely on design, so when I interned at various luxury brands, it was the first time that I confronted the realities of fashion, and its impact on the environment and on the people in the industry. I wanted to be able to ensure that my work has a positive impact, and as I learnt more about sustainable development, I made it a founding principle of my business. Even though my brand is very small right now, I want to be an example of how to combine aesthetics and ethics, and inspire others to do the same, in order to change the nature of the fashion industry.
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO BUY ETHICAL PRODUCTS?
I think we should as consumers be more conscious, because when we buy something, our money supports it. Often companies that are not transparent in how they make or provide their products or services are hiding something from their customers, and we should ask ourselves what is it that they’re hiding.
WE’VE SEEN YOU’VE ALSO BEEN INVOLVED IN SOME FAB POP-UP SHOPS ACROSS LONDON, ARE THERE ANY MORE LINED UP FOR THIS YEAR?
Yes, as well as taking part in the University of Westminster’s Pop Up shop project for the last two years, I regularly participate in pop up shops and events with other young creatives. We have an upcoming collaborative pop up in Covent Garden in February, which will coincide with fashion week, and we’ll be holding some fun events there, so come down to 67 Neal Street!
WHAT WOULD YOUR PERFECT LAZY SUNDAY IN LONDON LOOK LIKE?
My perfect Sunday would probably start with a lazy morning, then wandering around some of London’s interesting markets – perhaps Angel’s antiques or Portobello Road. After a dose of inspiration, I’d return home and get creative with my hands – sketching, painting or creating. In the evening, I’d consult my favourite recipe books and pick something new and exciting to cook with my partner while dancing to music, before relaxing with our gourmet dinner and a glass of wine.