The eco-friendly company also hopes to bridge cultures
By Thomas Ansell
Technicolour, wax-printed material is an endearing symbol of West Africa, with the technique having an incredibly long history in the region, with the motifs now being used on everything from football shirts to khaftans and full outfits for formal events.
For Avital Hershler, who is studying in Groningen and is one of the founders of Maleo Style, a web-shop selling ethically sourced printed shirts in Groningen, her introduction to the technique came in Senegal. “I volunteered in an organisation that helps villages become eco-communities”, she says, “and these fabrics are a beautiful tool to show people the amazing community there.”
Maleo Style works as a kind of forum to help support more Senegalese people in starting their own export businesses: “we get to understands how things are run in Senegal and why, and they can learn about making a product that will be in high demand from people in Europe”, says Avital.
When Avital returned, she and her partner Max got to work turning the company into a reality. “A seed of the idea was growing in my mind, but he pushed us to turn it into an actual business with tangible products.”
Now, Maleo Style works with a series of trusted tailors and fabric makers to create their vibrant masterpieces: “We teamed with Senegalese locals to turn these patterns into high-quality and durable shirts. This way, we cut out the middleman and get money directly into the hands of our tailors in Africa.”
As for the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak? The founders have used the time to get their webshop online, and they hope that their Senegalese shirts can bring a flash of colour and brightness to those in need of some sunshine.
Image via Maleo Style