Africa Fashion Guide
A social enterprise promoting sustainability within Africa's fashion and textile industry.


November 29th, 2017

Upcycled African fashion on a Volcanic archipelago

Mia launched her ethical fashion label MIA By Mia Nisbet back in 2008 with the aim of sourcing and producing her up-cycled fashion lines in Africa. Mia creates edgy fashion garments that fuse recycled fabrics with traditional African Textiles.

MIA established her fashion line producing out of Malawi and selling the collections internationally in Los Angeles, Japan and London.

In recent years MIA took a step back from producing her label to raise her son and has been concentrating on delivering workshops and educational aspects of up-cycling and textiles.

MIA is gearing up to start producing collections again so recently visited Cape Verde with the aim of investigating the possibility of sourcing and producing her collections there. MIA spent a few weeks sourcing African Textiles and worked with some local tailors to produce a small run of limited addition African Fabric Jackets which are now available on ASOS Marketplace.

image below – Tailoring Shop: Happiness, Santa Maria, Cape Verde


MIA was in Santa Maria, Cape Verde which is the most touristic of the Islands. Cape Verde, or Cabo Verde, is in the Atlantic Ocean on a volcanic archipelago off the western coast of Africa. Situated near Senegal, The Gambia, and Mauritania, and is part of the Macaronesia known for its Creole Portuguese-African culture, traditional morna music and numerous beaches. Consisting of islands including Santiago which hails its capital town, Praia.

‘MIA by Mia Nisbet’ is an Up-cycled clothing label with a social and environmental conscience. The brand is committed combating the negative effects of the fast fashion market. As the basis for the collections Mia sources second hand fabrics and then combines these recycled materials with traditional African textiles to produce collections that merge the richness of African textiles with western styling.  The design concept is ethical fashion that unites cultures, is sustainable and wearable.
Inspiration for these collections came from Mia’s time spent in Africa particularly Malawi. In the street markets of Malawi, local traders sell copious amounts of second-hand clothing that has been imported from the US, Europe and elsewhere, primarily from donations. MIA observed how Malawian citizens mixed imported clothes with their traditional dress and African Textiles. From this observation she develops eye-catching ranges based on this fusion between tradition and modernity.

MIA will return to Cape Verde in Feb to continue her research and will also be back in May to visit Mindelo one of the less touristic islands where she believes fabric sourcing and labour will likely be more affordable and a win win for both.


Follow her journey at

and see her website here:





Photography credit: Adilson Ramos Photography



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