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Made: By the people for the people

Made: By the people for the people

Founded in 2005 by Italian fashionista, Cristina Cisilino, Made creates stunning designer accessories that are 100% fair-trade. Made’s products are designed by influential designers as well as guest celebrities. The products are handcrafted within Made’s Nairobi workshop and following the principles of fair-trade, Made trains local artisans in new skills, providing fair wages and support at every level. Via this ‘trade not aid’ ethos, Made is helping to break the cycle of poverty and empower the people who make its products.

Lawfully Chic talks to Rahab Lenaiyai – an artisan employed by Made

Name: Rahab Lenaiyai

Age: 24

Description of working day:

I get up at 6am and take the Matatu (small bus) to the workshop. The journey takes 1 1/2 hrs.  I start my work at 8am.  First I gather together all the materials I need from the storeroom and I begin my work.  I work in production on many projects. I do lots of beading work.  Beaded necklaces and bangles are my favourite things to make.  I also make a lot of friendship bracelets out of cord, leather and beads so I have to plait and weave too. I can make a simple friendship bracelet in one minute! Sometimes I also help with stitching in the leather department.  At 9.30 I have a break for my chai tea.  I eat cake or bread which I make at home.  I then continue with my work and then have lunch at 12am when I rest for an hour.  I eat on the tables outside the workshop with my friends.  I usually have rice and meat – beef is my favourite!   At 1pm I continue working and then I have another break for Chai tea at 3pm.  I finish my work at 5.30pm and take the matatu home.

How has the job changed your life?

Before I came to Made I was working at the Maasai Market in town.  I made Maasai clothes and jewellery such as bracelets and earrings with beads.  I would sell my clothes and jewellery there.  The problem was that sales were very slow so my income could not be guaranteed. I much prefer working at Made as it has changed my life for the better.  I now have a regular income that I can rely on.  It means that I can always pay my rent and I can pay for my daughter’s school fees.

What does the job mean to you?

It means a lot to me.  It means that I can be independent which is important.  It also means that I have the opportunity to always be learning new skills. I like working on new projects that are challenging or involve new techniques like the Mimco and Stefanel projects as this means that I can learn more.

Made have collaborated with an array of high-profile brands including Louis Vuitton, Matches, Whistles, Nicole Farhi, Stefanel, Urban Outfitters, Kate Moss for Topshop and John Lewis. In addition, highly successful celebrity collaborations have included Alexa Chung, Laura Bailey, Livia Firth and Peaches Geldoff and top designer collaborations have included Pippa Small, Bex Rox, Natalie Dissel and Hattie Rickards.

View the Laura Bailey for Made video at