Mia Mélange was originally the brainchild of Mia Danieli an entrepreneur and designer with a multicultural outlook. Born into an Israeli family, with a Swiss mother and an Israeli father, Mia travelled and lived in many different countries, giving her a passion for diverse cultures and new beginnings. Mia studied textile design and majored in weaving, then eventually married a South African and moved to his home town, Stellenbosch, which is now the home of Mia Melange. Mia sold the businesses in 2017 to entrepreneur Jeanneke Malan who runs the company with the same love, care and principles as the original founder.
Mélange means 'mixture' or 'blend' in French. It also refers to a type of yarn which is typically made up of different kinds of fibers, or differently colored fibers, blended together. Mélange yarn can be knitted or woven into a rich, multi-colored and textured fabric.
Mia Mélange means 'Mia's Mix' – and the idea for the name came from a desire to create a collection of eclectic home décor and accessory products, with a strong emphasis on beautiful textiles.
Although it has a globally inspired outlook, the brand is firmly rooted in Africa. It was born out of the initial idea to start making baskets influenced by the ancient techniques, shapes and colors of African basket making.
Mia Melange favors handwork over machine work wherever possible and the brand is passionate about using traditional crafting techniques. Everything is created from cotton grown locally in South Africa, the yarns are spun in South African mills and the rope is braided locally in Cape Town.
Mia Melange products are handmade using 100% cotton rope, either in its natural color or dyed into various colors. To support sustainability, the cotton is grown by farmers who are members of the Better Cotton Initiate (BCI).
The Better Cotton Initiative is a non-profit that promotes better standards in cotton farming. BCI meets UN's goals to achieve better global water sustainability and sustainable agriculture. BCI also promotes use of better irrigation practices with farmers, reducing the use of fertilizers, as well as fair work practices.
"Cotton has been used as a fiber for more than 7000 years. Unlike fossil based fibers, cotton is sustainable, renewable, biodegradable, and carbon neutral and can be used without depleting or damaging the environment, thus making it an excellent choice as an environmentally-friendly fiber throughout its entire product life cycle."
Mia Melange believes in empowering women and creating opportunities. In particular, the company strives to create jobs for previously unemployed women in their local area. At the studio in Stellenbosch, a small team of highly valued crafters are carefully trained and given a life skill.
The ethos goes beyond just creating jobs, the company also strives to create quality jobs where each employee is valued and proud to be a part of the team. There is a strong belief in appreciating craftsmanship and valuing crafters and manual laborers in the same way we value doctors, lawyers and professors.
We love that these bold designs are deeply rooted in Africa and crafted by hand in South Africa from locally grown 100% cotton. With a focus on quality over quantity, each item is an original, product and you can see the care and attention-to-detail that has gone into making each one. Mia Melange shows just how versatile cotton can be, whether as a gorgeous planter, a beautiful linen basket or a striking clutch bag.
All images courtesy of Mia Melange @miamelange