Unique dresses with a story: Mima-te

APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs.
Mima-te: Our fashion label is called Mima-te (this is a Portuguese word which means Spoil yourself). Set in vintage style, with an eko concept redesigned and customized, Mima-te is a fashion brand that believes that everything old can be turned into new. Mima-te up cycles and renews old textiles by turning them into fashionable, modern and affordable clothing.

Mima-te founders Nelly and Nelsa Guambe – Pic by Sarah Rubensdoerffer

APiF: What makes your business unique?
Mima-te: The dresses are unique and have a story. Secondhand clothes we find in Maputo markets have a long production chain, they have come a long way: from cotton production in Africa, clothes design in Europe or America, production in Bangladesh or China, later worn in Europe and then sent to Africa. This fast fashion cycle affects the workers in the clothing industry and also the environment. Our intention is to bring those forgotten clothes back to life. The sewers at the market also become involved in creating something new instead of just reselling clothes that were not needed any more in rich countries.


APiF: How does your heritage inspire/influence your designs?Mima-te: Our first collection was called Mafalala – collection inspired by the dynamics of one of the suburbs of Maputo (Mozambique). The attractive look of the houses with the painted zinc walls – we tried to bring these via our different designs onto the cat walk. And we are always inspired by the different places we visit!

APiF: If your label would be a person, what kind of person would it be?
Mima-te: Mima-te is simple and ultimate feminine. A person that is conscious about today and cares about tomorrow.


APiF: What is your professional background?
Mima-te: We both studied in South Africa – Nelly political science  and Nelsa development studies. Currently we are both working for a development organization. We moved back to Maputo three years ago and stared our fashion brand in 2012. We mostly roam around markets after work to find the best pieces of clothes to redesign and recycle.

APiF: How can readers purchase your clothing?
Mima-te: A selection of available dresses can be found here and purchased at http://mimate.bigcartel.com/. All orders are processed within 24 hours and shipped within 2 business days from Berlin, Germany, to wherever you live: we ship worldwide! No extra shipping costs apply.


APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?
Mima-te: Do it and have fun above all. Look around to people who are working in the similar field. Learn from them and share with them. Get inspired and be an inspiration to others. It is about learning by doing.

Find out more:
f: https://www.facebook.com/mimatemaputo
w: http://www.mimate-maputo.com
s: http://mimate.bigcartel.com/