MI-CI (Made in Côte d’Ivoire)

Mi-CI (Made In Cote d’ Ivoire) is an equitable fashion brand. The creator, Mariétou Ouattara, brings an original and personal touch to the line by merging her country of origin- Cote d’Ivoire to the country where she currently resides- Switzerland. As a result, the clothes which are created in Geneva and use fabrics made in Cote d’Ivoire turn out to be colourful, ethnic, and representing a fusion of two cultures. MI-CI works in Cote d’Ivoire alongside local communities with the intent to ensure equitable and sustainable development. To have more information and see some beautiful photos of the products, please visit MICIM on Facebook. My Drop in the Oceans had the opportunity to speak to Mariétou about the story behind the brand in the short interview below :

Would you define your approach as a project within the framework of fair trade ?

I define my approach as a project that is close to the heart, and a fair collaboration amongst all participants. I personally engage with each actor in the production process and I know exactly who does what in the making of my creations. I hope that MICI will develop more in order to have the chance to go even further within this approach.

How are your fabrics made ? What materials are used ?

I use many different materials such as cotton, jeans, linen, veil, loincloth (wax), baoule` loincloth (kita) and bogolan cloth. The majority of my fabrics are made in Cote d’Ivoire. The baoule`loincloth for example is hand-woven in Toumodi, a city in the North of Cote d’Ivoire.

What spurred you to enter the fashion world ?

More than entering the fashion world, I had always wished to work with Africa, and particularily with Cote d’Ivoire. I was a habit to get some of my outfits sown during my stays in Cote d’Ivoire. This way, the project started growing : I used to bring back some nice clothes for my friends, and little by little I started taking it more seriously. I told myself, why not value this local know-how, workmanship, and the fabrics from my country more ? In addition, this creates employment for the craftsmen I know well. This is how the idea, the dream, was born… then I worked in order to make it real.

What are your visions for MICI ? In what way would you like to develop your brand ?

My main goal at the moment is to make the MICI website go live. Soon everyone will be able to order MICI products online on www.mi-ci.ch. I hope that the development of MICI will be advantageous for all the actors in the production chain, that we may eventually be able to buy new sowing machines and work with new craftsmen. I also hope that MICI will continue to represent a merging… an alliance between traditional African patterns and a contemporary occidental style.

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