Earlier this month, The Sewing Café, a community-based studio, launched an in-house clothing label, Min, which is available online and at Saint Sienna in Kalk Bay. The sustainable basics collection is for women looking for comfortable, locally-made, environmentally friendly and human-kind clothing. Funds generated are used to train unskilled and unemployed people in Masiphumelele and Ocean View.
Somehow Covid brought out a big dose of creativity in us and a good dollop of urgency
Co-owner and designer Athene Knemeyer collaborates with her step-daughter, Bella Knemeyer (landscape architect and artist), and with accessories designer, Axe Mahlulo. Axe makes durable bags and backpacks out of recycled dog food bags.
The clothing is made from natural fabrics, some of which are sourced from the GOTS Certified Organic Fabrics Trader, PhotoGanic. For their T-shirts and sweaters, The Sewing Café uses cotton grown in Africa from Photoganic.
“We only use natural fabrics or recycled PET at the moment,” says Athene.
The Sewing Café launched Min to create jobs in Masiphumelele and Ocean View communities and to help fund its skills training programme, SO GOOD.
The Sewing Café is very conscious of over-production and is looking at ways to address this issue by employing a more user-centred and participatory design model. “Min welcomes customer input and engagement as a way to shape the brand to become something we all feel good about,” says Athene. To avoid waste and overstock, tell Min what clothes you’re looking to buy here.
Because The Sewing Cafe believes in longevity and durability, the team will repair and resize as and when people want “so that the clothes can last and be enjoyed for as long as possible,” says Athene.