It all started when founder and designer Ingunn Smørgrav lived in Kenya, where she saw first-hand what poverty and unemployment did to people. “I wanted to do something about it, and my way was to provide people with work,” she says. Thus she went to the Maasai people for leather, to the local township Kibera for recycled brass for the hardware, and finally to a skilled labourer in Nairobi to sew, creating stylish handbags with an ethical back-drop. “People are becoming increasingly aware of ethical design, and questioning how workers are treated and paid. The way Malaika’s works, there are no middle-men, and I know exactly what the conditions are like,” Smørgrav explains.

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