|T-shirts touched by an angel|
Guardian Business Reporter
Published: Jun 29, 2012
Three men born and raised in three different countries were brought together by a love for culture and reggae, under the guidance of an angel.
Lavado Stubbs from The Bahamas, along with business partners Fahad Awadh, from Tanzania, and Momar Taal, from The Republic of Gambia, seemed to create the perfect fit when they launched their Malyka clothing line seven years ago.
In this week’s edition of Da Plunge, Stubbs pointed out that it was the universal power of reggae music that led them to start their t-shirt line. Looking at various brands throughout the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), they were wearing clothes they were not pleased with, claiming that brands had no personal meaning.
“We were wearing clothing with a certain meaning and it wasn’t representing what we’re about. We thought it would be great to create a brand that could connect various cultures, especially ours. With me being from the Caribbean and those guys are from Africa, we carried a lot of connections,” he shared. “Reggae was a big connection we have, thanks to Bob Marley back in the day and making that connection throughout the world. We really wanted to create a brand that would mix and fuse our cultures together. That’s how Malyka formed.”
Stubbs met Awadh and Taal while attending York University in Toronto back in 2005. At the time, they were freshman who found out that they had more in common than anticipated, considering their countries of origin.
He shared with Guardian Business that Malyka is the Swahili word for angel. The company’s vision is to guide knowledge from one culture to another, like angels. It’s a brand that he describes as culturally-driven and positive.
Malyka’s first t-shirt line was produced in 2007 and featured a lion’s head design with the rasta colors.
“It’s been a long journey. We had a lot to learn about being in the clothing business, like the art of screen-printing. We went from producing shirts, where we were literally in our room ironing on t-shirts all the time, to where we went out and found a screen printer. We searched throughout Canada to find the right screen printer for the business.”
To date, he said thousands of dollars has been invested to get the Malyka clothing line up and running.
Since switching the line’s manufacturing from Canada to Bangladesh, Stubbs revealed that the line is expanding.
“Manufacturing in Canada became too costly, so our lines are being produced in Bangladesh. One of our partners, Fahad, visited the factory. Now, our shirts are made from scratch as opposed to being bought and printed on. The cut is the way we want it and it’s very detailed. So, it’s a different breed of shirts,” he added. “Our newest line – the Street Times Knowledge collection – is strictly t-shirts and will be launched sometime next month. A store called Ascends in Canada is currently carrying our line. We are going to have an online store on our website.
“We are actually in talks to make denim jeans in Japan. And this place in Bangladesh, we are looking to do women’s dresses, polo shirts for guys, hats along with a few other products.”
Over the next three years, Stubbs said that he and his partners will open up Malyka flagship stores and offices in places like Los Angeles, New York and one in each of the owners’ home countries.
For more information, log on to the company’s website at www.malyka.com