mumutane designs unique, graphic and colourful high-quality home accessories. The products are made with African wax print textiles, purchased by women who run small, local textiles shops in Africa, as well as leftover textiles from the Danish international brand, Kvadrat.
The aim is to create ’products with purpose’, which is why mumutane has a sustainable approach with a focus on minimising textile waste, and production with a social impact tailoring business.
The name mumutane means ’we humans’ and the philosophy behind is that we work across cultures and borders to create better conditions for more people.
mumutane - nordic design african tradition is inspired by the minimalistic Nordic aesthetics and vibrant African expression. The African prints contain a lot of symbols and tales of life in Africa, which gives every product a special story. This cultural crossover adds a personal design experience to any modern home.
Welcome to mumutane’s universe with lots of colours and spectacular prints!
mumutane unites the Nordic design tradition and the African textile tradition in an untraditional and cool combination. With mumutane's brand and products, we focus on the fact that Africa has a lot to offer, which we in the Nordics have not recognised. This is done through well-designed, versatile and functional products inspired by Africa to create warm, vibrant and personal expressions - both as interior design and fashion accessories.
mumutane is a brand with an opinion and something on its mind. We believe that Africa can and wants more. We believe that the best way to create development is by giving people work and thus a financial basis to be able to support themselves and their family. We call it 'give work'.
All the cushions are produced in collaboration with one of Denmark's largest social impact tailoring businesses, Huset Venture in Kolding, which aims to create work for people with disabilities.
In addition, we have a small production of accessories at a local tailoring business in Nigeria run by mother and daughter. Here, they regularly have internships for young women to help them become better at sewing and they also have three employees.
Wax print textile
mumutane’s products are designed and produced in African wax print textiles, which have a very special status in Africa and among Africans all over the world. In fact, this fabric is considered to be the most symbolic of all African fabrics, nor is it without reason that the fabric is so popular and has been so for almost 200 years.
The wax print fabric is very eye-catching with its vibrant colours and distinctive prints and symbols. The textile is made of 100% cotton and is printed using wax, hence the name `wax print`. The waxing technique helps to evoke a very special visual expression, which is a combination of clear graphics, colours in many layers and a special marbled effect. This combination helps to give a special visual dimension and optical effect in the print. The wax technique makes both the print a little different from print to print, and the colours are very durable and remain beautiful and clear even after long-term use.
Wax print textile is not only beautiful and fascinating to look at. At the same time, it is full of symbols and stories, which makes it something very special. Both the symbols and the colours reflect the African culture and are used to signal different statements, messages and moods. It can be anything from everyday events, the relationship between men and women, nature, music, rhythms and social status to special traditions and events. The symbolism can vary depending on geography or social status. Many of the popular texti-
les have been given names over time and are produced in different colour combinations.
Wax print has been used by Africans for clothing for almost 200 years. Although one would think that the iconic textile is originally African, it was the Dutch textile company Vlisco that during the industrialisation and the colonial expansion brought the wax print textile to the African Gold Coast in the late 19th century. Wax print is therefore often called Hollandais or Dutch wax. The textile was originally designed for sale on the Indonesian market, and the term was therefore heavily inspired by Indonesian batik. Vlisco was not successful in the Indonesian market and therefore introduced the textile on the African Gold Coast. The fabric was new and exotic to Africans. It quickly became popular and a symbol of style and status. Over time, the population had a great influence on the design of patterns, colours and symbolisms, and thus the wax print textile came to reflect the African culture.
Vlisco exists today and also has factories in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. Vlisco still collaborates with African women, whose opinions and knowledge about colours, symbols, clothing and culture play a major role in the design phase of the textiles. Many talented African designers often integrate the wax print tradition into new interpretations in their designs, and also help to carry on the strong tradition. With this development, the Africans have made the wax print textile their very own and into something quite special.
We source textiles from West Africa, predominantly Nigeria. We spend a lot of time finding the right suppliers to ensure the right quality. It is important for us to know our partners and ensure that they get a fair and honest financial gain for their work and cooperation with us.
Doing business everywhere in Africa is challenging. We have family in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, and therefore it is obvious to start there.
Nigeria is with its approx. 195 million inhabitants the most populous country in Africa and the continent's largest economy. Population growth is expected to increase by 100-150% by 2050.
Africa's infant mortality is declining, leading to an extremely young population, which has led to high unemployment or paid jobs below the poverty line.
In Nigeria alone, every other person over the age of 15 wants to leave the country and 4 million Nigerians are planning to travel away or are already on the way to do so.
The talents that exist in the country, many of them in the creative profession such as artists and design talents are leaving the country to seek a better future in primarily Europe. This is not a viable solution. We therefore want to help create opportunities and hope for a better future, especially for young women, who often work in the design and textile industry.
Fortunately, many larger companies have opened their eyes to the many talented resources and great potential in Africa. But even though we are just a small company with few resources, we hope and believe that we can also help create opportunities for especially young people in Nigeria by focusing on all the positive capacities in Africa which we in the Nordic countries have not recognised yet.
We will of course keep you updated about the process through our blog and newsletter.
Visit the blog here and sign up for the newsletter at the bottom of the page.
The co-founders of the brand, Line and Maria, have two different backgrounds that complement each other so nicely and form a good basis for creating an interesting brand with something purposeful on the heart.
Below you can read a little more about both of them.
Maria Kastrup Lausten, MSc. Marketing from Business & Social Sciences, Aarhus University.
I am educated in the retail industry with a focus on textiles, trends and fashion. In this connection, I became particularly interested in working methodically to create good customer experiences, digitally as well as in the physically.
Subsequently, I studied further and took a bachelor's degree in Business Economics and Sustainability, as well as a Master's degree in Marketing at Business and Social Sciences at Aarhus University.
After a few years in a large international company, I could feel that my old dream of becoming self-employed came back. The idea of creating something from scratch and building something that creates value for others was tempting enough for me to go for it.
In my family, we have for many years built a number of relationships and connections with Africa - especially Nigeria. It has been an important source of inspiration for creating mumutane, which is a dream and ambition to create an interior brand that connects the African tradition of colours, patterns and prints with the Nordic design tradition. I believe that in the meeting of different cultures, new interesting expressions and imprints emerge, which create lots of joy and value.
That we also have a strong ambition to create better living conditions in Africa is not just a bonus, but a fundamental value in our small business.
Line Dalby Gundersen, Designer MA, Design School in Kolding.
I have a degree in Designer MA from the Design School in Kolding. For the last 12 years I have worked independently with space and graphic design. One of the things that motivates and fascinates me the most as a designer is that I get the opportunity to challenge the usual way of doing things. I am motivated by designing a product that pushes the boundaries of the consumer and shows them alternative options that still and even more meet their expectations and needs in both functionality and aesthetics.
A key word in my work is also sustainability. For me, the creation, the production and the people involved are just as important as the end product, the consumer and the continued life of the product. As a designer, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to make a real difference for both people and the environment, by designing a product that takes into account sustainability from craddle to grave.
As a design manager at mumutane, I have the opportunity to make a difference, by generating employment for primarily young women in Africa. At the same time, it is incredibly enriching to dive into a fascinating African culture and work cross-culturally by designing products that combine proud African traditions with a Nordic design expression. Through our products, I hope to be able to enrich Nordic culture with some of Africa's fascinating traditions - and not least to show that Africa has a lot to offer.