Out of This World

Malaika New York’s Zero Waste Fashion Show

By Sarah Archambeault

It was an overcast evening in SoHo, and the night was anything but normal. Crowds from the street fair going on in Little Italy leaked over onto neighboring streets, as I struggled to push my way through. I was a little on the late side as I usually am–fashionably late as you might say–when I finally stumbled through the doorway of the studio Dreams on Air on Wooster Street. As I stepped in, I was transported somewhere else entirely, leaving the crowd, music and noise behind.

Model at the Zero Waste Fashion Show Malaika New York wearing the “ Square Vest”  piece from the collection.

Model at the Zero Waste Fashion Show Malaika New York wearing the “Square Vest” piece from the collection.

The studio was large and well-lit with industrial looking fixtures hanging from the ceiling and walls. Racks of luxurious clothing lined the walls with sporadic displays of jewelry, handbags, shoes, and other fun accessories. A definite line of caution tape boxed in a chunk of the center portion of the studio creating a makeshift runway, adding to the industrial feel of the scene. The small crowd made up of posh, eco-friendly New Yorkers drinking rosé and indulging in vegan snacks, made the setting very personal and intimate. We all eagerly chatted as we awaited Malaika’s show to begin.

When it was time to take the looks from the racks to the runway, the crowd parted as we got ready to see Malaika New York’s latest collection. As futuristic house music pumped through the speakers, slowly the models ascended from the level below, taking the runway in steady, purposeful movements. An evident contrast was presented as Malaika juxtaposed dark monochromatic colors with hints of vibrant yellows, greens, blues and playful, bright makeup.

A sneak peak of one of the pieces coming soon to Malaika’s site.

A sneak peak of one of the pieces coming soon to Malaika’s site.

As a bit of background, Malaika New York is a company that was founded on the basis of sustainability, and wants to help contribute to a eco-friendly future. For every garment they sell, they plant a tree in collaboration with The Canopy Project, a project that aims to reforest East Africa.

The apparel industry is one of the biggest waste-producing industries, and as a lot of the excess materials created end up in landfills, by using zero-waste patterns, Malaika is able to strategically drape the fabric in a way so that little to no materials are wasted.

Malaika manufactures all products locally and by hand in New York, giving greater quality control over the products being produced. All materials are sourced locally in North America as well. The entirety of the collection is genderless, androgynous and all-inclusive.

The outfits themselves were out of this world…literally. From silver, chrome leggings to black wrap dresses in yellow linings, to 6-inch platform space boots, the entire collection flowed cohesively together creating a universally astounding show.

A theatrical dance amidst the fashion show.

A theatrical dance amidst the fashion show.

The designer drew inspiration directly from the future. This is what clothing would look like in the future if we used up all of earth’s resources and were condemned to live in space.

The caution-taped runway served as a warning to show that this is the future of fashion if something does not change.

Malaika Haaning, creater of Malaika New York taking a bow at the end of the show.

Malaika Haaning, creater of Malaika New York taking a bow at the end of the show.


Photographed by Garrett Holmes