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Mami is a New York-based up and coming clothing brand imbued with multi-coloured pieces, crocheted bathing suits, polished silhouettes and a creative community that fights for the future they wish to see. Mami consists of designer Mev, photographer André Uncut, and co-founded by art director Jamont H. They launch today.

This brand introduces a relevant and raw approach to diversity in womenswear for the next generation to eagerly devour. Their goal? To overturn the outdated and structuring liberation for Black Women and Women of Colour. The name Mami is frequently associated with a word of endearment and a common phrase used in New York to fully compliment and accept a person's unconventional beauty. They envision a world where people manifest the power to be themselves, free of hate. We chat with the individuals who brought Mami to fruition about their launch, structures of freedom and unconventional beauty.

What does it mean for Mami to subvert the “outmoded and structuring liberation for Black Women + Women of Colour”? What structures of freedom do you see as outmoded?
Mami liberates Black women to be the leading fashion designers for the fashion industry. Being the face that pushes that. She's on top, so I’m on top. With that being said, Mami innovates designs for future generations to be inspired by. It’s a constant repetition of people referencing and remaking eras. The future has to look back and recognise 2021 was the era of trendsetters.
Mami is fundamentally about embracing a person's unconventional beauty. How has your view on conventional beauty altered?
Since the pieces are one of a kind, it pushes [the idea of] 'a 1 of 1 individual', so the wearer themselves can break conventional beauty.
Your team consists of 3 individuals, Mev, Andre and Jamont. How do your separate identities, personally and professionally, guide each other to launch your brand Mami?
We are all different with our vision and aesthetic, which made it work. We all take what we do seriously and have a productive mindset. It opens your eyes to new things. Working with multiple minds is better than working with one.
Living in New York makes adjusting to change inevitable. How do you all as a brand, but also individually adapt and grow with the times?
Being a native New Yorker, change comes naturally to us since it’s in our blood. You have to stay focused on your goal, nothing else should matter.

Even though the pandemic I’m sure the creativity has been unstoppable in New York. The city overflows with imagination and vision. How has the essence of collaborating changed in your eyes?
It fuelled more precision and dedication for creating.
I love your use of crochet – a craft sometimes associated with the elderly and conservative, now used for Mami’s sexy bikinis. Does tension or contradiction inspire you?
Both. Contradictions create new inspirations and challenge the norms. Even though tension could be overwhelming, it’s the courage of figuring out what’s on the other side is encouraging. Trusting the process of breaking the tension and staying positive is refreshing.
When designing the garments for Mami. What processes are undergone to bring the designs to life?
Mev: “Touching different fabrics and getting to know them. Teaching myself about how to go about the design. Falling in love with a concept or not. Sometimes, I don’t even know what will come out. I’m passionate about going with the flow and free-styling.” 
How and where do you source your vibrant recycled materials from?
It’s about studying the beauty of various fabrics and patterns. For example, one of the pieces came from an old fashioned nightgown. Many of which are scouted in local fabric stores in The Bronx and thrift shops throughout Manhattan.

There is a one of a kind piece handcrafted by Mev called "Mami 1 of 1". One of which has been showcased by Euphoria Star, Alexa Demie. What does it mean to you to have your garments worn and seen by a larger audience?
It’s an exciting feeling that Mami is respected. I always knew it was my destiny and knew it was for me. You have to confidently embrace moments like those. It’s empowering a movement.
The idea of beauty is always shifting. Whom we deem ‘beautiful’ is a reflection of our values. Over time, beauty has been codified and commercialised. How do you think our ideas of what beauty have changed and why?
Fortunately, people were tired of the norms. With a unified effort, more people prioritise their beauty. Now there’s more accessible self-love and acceptance.
Jamont, I see the words ‘Historical Excellence’ arise when reading about what you stand for. What does Historical Excellence mean to you and does it influence the way you do things at Mami?
Historical Excellence is creating a righteous archive for educating inclusion. When directing, it’s important to include truthful and inviting influences that sparks a conversation - with one another or in yourself.
How do you find inner peace and manifest the power to be yourselves in a world where so many categories are enforced?
A lot of expectations comes with being creative, prioritising your headspace is #1. To be able to manifest goals and be at peace, you have to be at one with yourself. You have to take those necessary steps to better yourself.

Words
Emma Smit

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