Fashion and ethically fair? Isabell Winter and Johannes Pautzke, the Visionäres behind MALIMO, answered a few questions about their idea of making fashion sustainable and sourced through up-cycling, without being uncomfortable or ugly. Not without new input on how millennials create stylish and desirably must-have items, while surviving the daily struggle of finding inspiration. A Interview full of passion for a fair fashion label, designed in Berlin and inspired by the incredible India.
In a few sentences, tell us more about your idea of conscious fashion design?
We think that people love the idea of fair & ethical fashion, but when it comes to what they buy, their actions may speak different words. We are not here to blame anybody for that. Let’s face it, most fair & ethical fashion is not as fashionable and usually more expensive in comparison to fast fashion. As a consumer on the one hand you know, that what you buy is a vote and you support whoever you buy from – so you want to vote wisely, on the other hand you are human and convenient: you just want good value nice looking clothes which are easy to get. What we need is more brands offering stylish, moderately priced ethical fashion. Today, conscious fashion design is getting more and more attention and it has come to stay. The ethical fashion show in Berlin now called Neony–which we visit twice a year for quite a while now–is getting bigger and more relevant every year. We see the change happening, slowly but surely and we are proud to be a part of this movement.
Tell us more about the very first vision you’ve had about Malimo?
Our first vision of MALIMO was born in 2016 in India. Back then our idea was to take traditional Indian designs and translate them into Berlin Street Fashion. We were so in awe with everything we saw in India, that we wanted to take it home for everyone here to experience. Now, even though design-wise we are expanding to different sources of inspiration, almost every MALIMO piece you buy still has an Indian attitude: colourful, playful and kind.
Where do you see yourself and the brand in the future?
Besides sourcing recycling materials for future designs, we are currently working on the integrating of our friends into our work life, to make it more fun and creative. We dream of having our own office space which we share with all of our freelancer friends, and friends whom we employ. Our goal is to work with lots of people who are fun and inspiring. Having a fashion brand for us means sitting in front of the screen a lot, that’s why we are actively trying to find opportunities to be able to go outside and talk to real people instead of E-Mailing. Apart from Malimo, one of our dreams is to build a houseboat. Who knows, maybe one day we will design a maritime collection with captain’s hats and sailor jackets?
How would you describe your personal universe, mind space or simply, what’s going on in your head every day?
Being self-employed means, there’s a lot going on in our heads on all kinds of levels. We are trying to keep our focus through daily meditation, yoga, journaling and recently the Wim Hoffs (the ice-man) breathing technique. We are constantly working on improving our output while still having fun doing it. We are using a great tool called Asana to organize everything work related. That way we can use the free headspace for interesting things we read in books or hear in podcasts. We just read „Factfulness“ by Hans Rosling, enjoyed the podcasts of Joe Rogan „Experience“, „Alle Wege Führen Nach Ruhm“, „Under The Skin“ and „NPR – how I built this“, to name a few.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
We get lots of inspiration from areas totally unrelated to fashion or the business. It’s always interesting to look for inspiration somewhere else. Traveling is a huge source too, being far away from everything you know helps to make you see the whole picture more clearly. Fashion-wise we love to check out the fashion history of different countries and cultures to get new design ideas. Or we go second hand shopping, which is always a great input to generate new products.
Crazy vs conventional ideas, which one wins in the daily process?
Usually we choose the unconventional path. After school most people went to study at the university – we went to Australia and lived in a van for a year. After that we’ve been in India and Bangladesh, where we spontaneously invested a lot of money in clothes we would later sell. Since none of us made it to study longer than eight weeks, we both didn’t learn much about the conventional way and we liked it. We’re enjoy learning by doing. If we want to sell to more retailers for example, we just try to contact them via Email or send out some hand written letters, even go there in person. We try different things and learn what works and what not. We also learned that the more traditional ways of exhibiting at trade fairs and fashion weeks are actually the worst ways of getting more retailers.
If you could change only one thing to make the world a better place, what would it be?
Lift everyone out of poverty. No human being is less entitled to peace, health care, and education than another. Yet some of us enjoy the advantages of it and some are born into freaking hard conditions. That is really unfair, we should all have the same opportunities, especially these days. No one should live without shoes, running water or electricity anymore. △
Wanna know more about Malimo? Then check out their products!