If you’re in the market for some new threads, we’d like to point you very firmly in the direction of Mallu clothing – a Christchurch based streetwear label proving once again that clothing can be as good for the world as it is for your wardrobe.
Meet Clive, Meg and Jess – three mates from Canterbury who reckon that when it comes to what you wear, making a positive social impact should be prioritised just as much as great design. ‘Mallu’ is the colloquial term for someone from Kerala, India; which makes sense, because every item of Mallu clothing starts its journey there. With their fairtrade partner Freeset Global, Mallu clothing prides itself on providing local farmers with a fair price for their cotton, and employing women previously trapped in Kolkata’s sex trade. It’s a very worthy cause, and one that has kept Clive, Meg and Jess pretty busy over the last year.
“It’s such a crazy industry”, says Clive,“but we feel that so long as we keep sticking with the trends, the Mallu movement can be a really tangible way for people to help others in need through their everyday purchases. We want to bring ethical to the mainstream, and the best way to do that is true design and a strong brand.”
Leading the charge with aesthetics is Creative Director Jess. After she’s worked her magic on the design front, the clothing is imported from Kolkata and then all printing and embroidery is done in Christchurch. Supporting their hometown is pretty important for these three proud Cantabrians – and many of their designs are inspired by local landmarks, tied into the surf and skate sub-cultures that inspire the Mallu brand as a whole.
With a trip to Kolkata already under their belts, there’s still plenty on the horizon for Mallu. With the dream of being an ethical alternative for all things streetwear, the plan is to keep building on the existing range, adding more products as the brand continues to gain momentum. Clive is positive about the future of Mallu; a confidence that largely comes from the sheer passion of the team that built it. “It feels good to know that we can still be the naturally creative people we are, but also have a positive social impact. The more we build this brand, the more families we can help in Kolkata – so our motivation never really falters.”
Words by Chessie Henry & Images by Supplied