Malaika Haaning: From Parsons to ZERO WASTE Fashion
Malaika Haaning is a sustainable fashion designer and founder of Malaika New York.
“Malaika branded garments using a technique that minimizes waste. The apparel industry is one of the biggest waste-producing industries. Much of the excess materials created in the apparel industry end up in landfills. By implementing Zero Waste Patterns, we are able to strategically drape the fabric in a such a way so little to no materials are wasted.”
Millennials and the general consumer market have become more environmentally conscious. However, the fashion industry has a lot of work left to do. “More than 15 million tons of used textile waste is generated each year in the United States, and the amount has doubled over the last 20 years”. Also, “Early July 2018, fashion brand Burberry had burned almost £30m ($40m) of stock has caused outrage. The company admitted destroying the unsold clothes, accessories and perfume instead of selling it off cheaply, in order to protect the brand's exclusivity and value.”
As a fashion designer, Malaika’s entire clothing line is focused on zero waste. Zero Coat, Zero Dres and other incredible design pieces.
Originally from Denmark, Malaika had learned about recycling and energy saving at a young age. After spending her 20s working in logistics, Malaika decided to apply to Parsons in New York City.
“If I have to do something, before I get kids, before I get too settled down, it has to be now. I didn’t want to be within the field I was in anymore, I enjoyed the time I had and I got to travel, but I was like… if I have to do it it has to be know. And I’m so happy I did it.”
[06:00] What’s your origin story? How/when did you get started into fashion?
[09:00] How the application process like to Parsons? What was your age at that time? When did you move to the US?
[11:00] What was going through your head when you decided to pursue fashion design for a living and setting up your own business?
[12:00] How was the interaction with your peers and colleagues when you were at fashion school and during internships/business? Was it challenging? It’s a pretty tough area.
[14:00] What are some of the internships that you did and what did you learn from them? What are some of the things you learned during the internships that then you could apply to your own business?
[17:00] Did you have to present a line of clothes when you finished your degree/as part of graduation? Was there a connection with the brand that you created later?
[20:00] How did you start Malaika NY?
[22:00] How do you go about cutting the fabric/materials to minimize waste?
[27:00] Your business model is a bit challenging since you target fewer clients with high-quality, long-lasting clothes. What’s difficult about your current process and how do you overcome some of those difficulties?
[29:00] Who is your target audience and customer base? What are they like?
[31:00] Can you expand a bit more about the materials you use? How did you find them?
[32:00] What would you recommend to first buyers?
[37:00] Do you think that your origin had an impact on your personal style, what you wear today and your brand?
[38:00] How does your current wardrobe look like?
[41:00] What would you recommend for people who want to get started designing their own clothes?
[43:00] How can people find your brand, contact you on social, etc?
[11:00] If I have to do something, before I get kids, before I get too settled down, it has to be now. I didn’t want to be within the field I was in anymore, I enjoyed the time I had and I got to travel, but I was like… if I have to do it it has to be know. And I’m so happy I did it.
[14:00] I gave it 110% all the way. I didn’t have a life while I was going there. It was just all about school, all about making the perfect result in whatever I was doing, and learning as much as possible.
[27:00] In the beginning it was very much uphill. You spend a lot of money figuring out what NOT to do.
[29:00] Most fashion businesses fail within a year. You see a company come, and after two years it is totally gone. It’s because people want to do it too fast.
[31:00] I want people to feel comfortable, but still modern and cool