Utamu: Empowerment Through Fashion

If you’ve been a supporter, you know exactly what we think around here: the more ethical fashion brands in the world, the more meaningful change will rock the fashion industry - and change it forever. One emerging brand that’s leading the change and that you should have on your radar is Utamu.

Hailing from South Africa, Utamu is an ethical fashion brand that celebrates craftsmanship and supports children’s education. Their staple? Beautifully designed and crafted jacket and tunics that are:

NATURAL

Utamu pieces are naturally dyed, handwoven and use 100% natural unbleached cotton. No chemical dyes creeping through your skin, no water pollution from the manufacturer and no use of harmful synthetic dyes.

Their organic cotton fabric is plant-dyed and handwoven by the hands of skilled artisans in Mali using centuries-old techniques. The country is home to many societies whose weaving and dyeing traditions are the foundation for family and village unity.

The tradition of making this fabric - known as mud cloth - dates back to the 12th century when artisans began dyeing cotton in a bath full of leaves and branches from different plants, each giving out a unique color - the indigofera plant for blue, hibiscus flower for red, and m’peku tree bark for orange.

VERSATILE

Their selection of jackets is perfect for any season. All of their items look stylish on their own in the warmer months and fantastic when layered with long-sleeved shirts, tights or leggings in the cooler ones.

FUN

Design is everything. Utamu’s beautiful patterns and color choices are vibrant and inspired by West African culture.

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1 JACKET OR TUNIC = 1 KID IN SCHOOL

For their new Mali Collection, they have partnered with Masicorp, a non-profit organization that believes that the surest route out of poverty is education. This means that for every jacket or tunic you purchase, you’re sponsoring three months worth of English and Math classes for a brilliant young mind at Ukhanyo Primary School in Cape Town, South Africa.

CROWDFUNDING

Although all Utamu jackets and tunics are available for pre-order, the brand is looking to make its official launch with your support via their recent Kickstarter campaign.

The exclusive rewards for backers are pretty cool. As early birds, you'll be able to purchase their jackets and tunics for up to a 35% discount before they’re available to the market. They’re also throwing in a reusable 100% organic cotton tote bag with every order.

At its core, Utamu is a company with a mission to use fashion as a tool for not only saving the environment but uplifting and investing into rising generations. Check out their Kickstarter campaign to support.

Willie GreeneComment