About

Melisa Minca is a clothing label based in Berlin founded in February 2018, specializing in upcycling and ethical fashion.

MM is a testament that ethical fashion can be more than just brown, hemp and expensive. MM is for eccentric individuals who want to stand out, but at the same time not contribute to the environmental pollution and human exploitation which the fashion industry is causing. My mission is to transform the way people look at clothes, but also the way they treat each other. What one is wearing shouldn’t perpetuate any sort of hierarchy, but instead celebrate our diversity.

‘System Recovery’ is made up of upcycled and repurposed pieces from 2nd hand materials such as curtains, blanket covers, table cloths. I also rework clothes, which I get in 2nd hand shops or flea markets. These are all one of a kind, and I totally live for that since uniqueness is important to me. Read the whole story behind the collection.

The custom collection are pieces which I make to order for my clients after I’ve made a sample collection. You can either send me your measurements or come to my studio to be measured, I really love this process since it’s so personal. The amazing satisfaction I feel when I’m able to create a piece which will be significant to the person wearing it and they won’t throw it out after one season. Read the whole story behind the collection.

I’m a self-taught designer, who never studied fashion at school or university. I actually studied Sustainable Development and Politics. In 2015, when I moved to Berlin I started learning how to sew with lots of experimenting, YouTube tutorials and books.

I’m a freelancer, so technically I’m the only official member of the team. Since May 2018 I’ve been offering internships and so now I always have one person learning beside me and helping me in all aspects of the brand.

If you’re interested in working with me, apply for an internship at MM. Apply here.

Upcycling

Upcycling is making something fresh and new from an old, a 2nd hand and/or discarded item. With upcycling one adds value to the product as opposed to with recycling the result is usually of lesser quality and value.

To me upcycling is a necessity. It’s should be integral to how we operate in this society, because of the limitations and scarcity of natural resources. So to me upcycling is something almost natural and normal. It’s also a way to tease your brain into being creative. I think about each piece I rework or repurpose, because each one is different and there are so many possibilities to upcycling.

I started teaching myself to sew in 2015. Upcycling, repurposing and reworking allowed me to learn while experimenting, but also keep the waste at minimum. I used to get old curtains at fleamarkets for a euro or two, because I didn’t want to waste perfectly good new materials.

Women who sew

I come from a family of women who were all designing for themselves and sewing from a young age (because mass produced socialist fashion was limited to a very few styles every season) and some still do now. My great grandma even had her own boutique. I grew up around fashion and sewing machines, but in my teen years strong awareness of environmental issues developed with me becoming vegan. My own brand was never something I considered, but after I finished my studies I found myself at a crossroads in my life, so I started something where I could meaningfully merge these two passions of mine.

Upcycling alone won’t solve it. What’s necessary is a combined effort on all sides, including fast fashion companies. New technologies are being developed. The technology for recycling materials is getting more efficient. New materials from discarded materials such as orange peels are being developed. Robots which can produce a simple garment are already being tested.

New technologies

I think the future of the fashion industry is very dependent on new technologies, whereas the future of upcycling comes down to people’s own creativity and willingness to spread the awareness of the issues the fashion industry is causing – and people are more motivated now than ever before. Upcycling as we know it today therefore serves more as a tool for raising awareness for the bigger issue we face as a society and that is the unprecedented levels of consumption.

Reworking

When a garment is reworked usually the main structural integrity is preserved. So let’s say a shirt will still be a shirt after the rework, but more interesting, new panels/elements added and broken parts removed or covered/mended. For example, I like reworking shirts and jeans because they are like blank canvas and one has so many options in reworking.

Repurposing

Repurposing (in fashion) is a process of taking a piece of textile (or any other material really) which used to have a special function and making it into a wearable garment or an accessory. For example, I repurpose blanket covers a lot, because they are easy to find in second hands, they can have really interesting patterns and since they are big in size, there’s potential of making more garments out of one piece of blanket cover. One can repurpose all sorts of things, but for me the textiles (such as table cloths, pillow cases, curtains, etc.) are the easiest, because of what my equipment allows me at the moment, e.g. I only have sewing machines for textiles.

Sustainable fashion, also called eco fashion, is a part of the growing design philosophy and trend of sustainability, the goal of which is to create a system which can be supported indefinitely in terms of human impact on the environment and social responsibility. It can be seen as an alternative trend against fast fashion.

Shop

On the Checkout page you’ll find a window where you can describe in as much detail as you want what you’d like to change or add to the garment. To help you with customizing visit the Measuring Guidelines page. If the instructions are clear, I will produce the garment according to them. If not, I will contact you to make sure you’re getting the garment exactly as you want it.

The sizing is done with respect to the European charts. If you know your EU size, you know your MM size. If you’re still unsure, please contact me and I’ll give you more detailed measurements of the item and advice on the size depending on the look you’re going for (slim, oversized, etc.).

To help you with measuring yourself there’s the Measuring Guidelines page.

Yes! If you are based in Berlin, you can always contact me, come to my studio and try on whatever you like. Otherwise you can go to any of MM stockists and try MM directly in these stores.

Don’t worry, if you’re unsure about the size, System Recovery items can be returned within first 14 days without a reason. See Return Policy for more info.

Yes, some items will be. Since I mainly produce one of kind items, the restocked items will be slightly different. When upcycling one works with a limited amount of fabric, that’s why there can only be so many pieces made, if not just the one. If an item is sold out, you can always contact me to inquire about a possibility of restock or making a custom item and what that item would look like.

In my online shop, but I also stock in physical stores. To find out which ones, visit my Stockists page.

Generally, I add new items almost every month. If you’d like to know the precise dates, sign up to my newsletter to stay updated and get information on this ahead of everyone else.

Refunds & Shipping

You can return any item from the System Recovery collection. These items are already made, which means you have the standard 14 days to return the item without a reason. For info on returns of custom pieces see next section.

See a tag on the product page under description indicating which collection the item belongs to.

Unfortunately, you cannot return any items from the Custom collection. These items are made to order (and with your measurements, if you requested it) which means they cannot be returned. If your custom item arrives and you’re not happy with the fit, please, contact me and we can talk about possible adjustments. However, the more precisely you share your vision and measurements with me, the better the garment fits.

See a tag on the product page under description indicating which collection the item belongs to.

Simply send it back to the return address on the package. You can also find the address here. When I get the item, in unworn condition and with tags, you will be refunded instantly.

When I receive the returned item unworn and with tags, you will be refunded the full price via PayPal. The shipping costs are not refunded.

I ship all items with DHL with tracking number. You can request this number from me if you’d like to track your order.

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