Written By The Style Whisperer for THE DESIGN COLLECTIVE
Founded by three sisters in the midst of the pandemic, Mint Ceylon is a unique brand that places a lot of heart and soul into each of their designs. Each of their products is designed with an almost obsessive amount of detailing and a lot of thought. Made using upcycled fabrics and ethically sourced raw materials, this brand proves that repurposed can be fashionable.
The trio launched the brand with a simple mission: to create jobs for the local communities. This powerful idea gave birth to a brand that believes in fair trade, minimizes waste wherever possible and empowers men and women artisans.
Now a part of The Design Collective, we were very excited to speak to the three co-founders—Zainab, Summaiya and Tasneem Zaheen. They revealed the inspiration behind the brand, the reason behind their sustainable collections and their plans for the future.
Tell us a little about Mint Ceylon. How did you get started?
“We (the sisters) always found ourselves thrifting garments and making improvements to them for our personal wardrobe and styled them in multiple different ways. Friends and family were always inquisitive as to where we bought our garments from because they were so unique. This was our lightbulb moment and our spark to start Mint Ceylon.
We knew the huge waste problem in the fashion industry had to be addressed. The amount of fabrics that go to waste each year was astonishing! We established our goal and started working. Through tremendous effort as well as lots of trial and error, our brand was born.”
You have a vast variety of products that you make, from candles to bags. What inspires the designs?
“Our inspiration comes from providing versatility and functionality to ensure that our customers can make the most out of their purchase.”
What are the materials that you use to make your designs? Can you tell us about them in detail?
“We upcycle fabric scraps, dead stock and off cut pieces from garment exporters and tailoring units in Sri Lanka. We take these and turn them into contemporary fashion products.”
How do you minimise waste?
“Our designs are meticulously crafted keeping in mind fabric wastage. We do not let any excess fabrics go to waste. Instead, we use them in various smaller products that we have designed such as pouches, scarves, scrunchies, bags, shirts and so on.”
How important are social and environmental sustainability for you?
“We observed a lot of fast fashion brands that were emerging in the market. We realized that there was a huge gap in the upcycled fashion industry. Our products are meant to act as handmade, high-quality sustainable alternatives to plastic or unethically produced ones. We strongly believe that brands can do more to reduce wastage and to educate people that garments can have a second life and do not have to end up in a landfill.”
You started the brand during the pandemic. How has the journey been so far?
“It has been quite a challenge to stay afloat during the pandemic with the sudden lockdowns being put in place. But it made us think outside the box and find ways to overcome challenges that we are faced with. It keeps us on our toes and keeps us grounded. We are grateful for the fact that we are able to keep running even in the midst of the pandemic.”
How would you like to grow the business? Any new collections you’re currently working on?
“We would love to see Mint Ceylon go global. We have a few exciting products lined up for Christmas and we are also planning for other launches next year as well. We would love to incorporate more recycled materials into our brand as well but that would involve more research and require a bit more time and resources.”