The shop Mahka is located in the artistic area of Sheung Wan, next to galleries or antics shops. A coincidence? We don’t think so as this venue is not only a shop per se, it is a “Fashion Gallery”.
We met with Maguelone the Founder of Mahka. This inspiring entrepreneur shared with us her spirit, her vision, and her passion for fashion.
Who is behind the Brand Mahka?
Maguelone Calmels, a French girl established in Hong Kong.
Please tell us more about you. What is your Background?
I am a 30 years old French woman. I used to live in France, in Hong Kong, in Shanghai and in London.
I have always been passionate by Fashion, Art and Music. I have been studying and working in these creative domains, as they are my passions.
Where does the name Mahka come from?
“Ma” as Maguelone and “Ka” for Calmels, in reference to my name. The “hk” in between refers to Hong Kong (but you do not pronounce it).
Can we say that Fashion has been a heritage for you?
Fashion has always been present for sure. I think it is here for everyone (consciously or not). Fashion is a way of expressing yourself and it is true for all generations. On my side, my mother used to make my clothes when I was a child. My grandmother was working in a haberdashery, and my great-grandmother got her own couture house in Bulgaria. I have designed one collection for Mahka to pay a tribute to my Eastern Europe roots and I tried to share this specific heritage. So yes, it is important.
When did you get the idea to create Mahka?
The idea to create a fashion brand has started when I was a teenager, but I didn’t know what, where, and how. ActualIy, I want to start a movement, create a community more than just a brand.
How did you create the Brand?
I always knew that I wanted to work with artists one day.
Then, Mahka came very naturally in my mind. The first collection of Mahka was designed in collaboration with my brother. My role is to gather designers and more generally artists together, and mixed their identity together with my style.
What is the identity/spirit of Mahka?
Mahka combines art and fashion under one roof. Every fashion collection is made in collaboration with an artist, spanning various mediums, from photography to music, writing, painting, and street art. The fashion label is part of a lifestyle community from all around the world.
Mahka is a crew of artists with their own lifestyle. Based on the slogan of our first collection: “We don’t feed the pigeon”. It is a symbol of freedom, without any prejudices. There is an idea to regroup together all people who consider that express himself is important. And this can be made by style, without violence or negative interests.
I consider that the pigeons are the ones who don’t assume themselves, who follow the rules or who follow what people will tell them to do, to consume…consciously or not. Of course there are rules to respect in a society, but the self-expression is very important in my opinion. And this should be a right for everyone. You are not a pigeon when you think freely and assume your choices, while you respect the others.
How would you position Mahka?
Mahka is Fashion, Art and Music. It is offering limited & exclusive products at an affordable price.
Mahka talks to “real people”, worldwide.
Where does your inspiration come from?
From everywhere! I like traveling, as much I like people, the streets, music, and art in general. For me, everything can be a source of inspiration.
Where do you source your fabrics and where do you make your products?
Fabrics can be sourced worldwide. As we do limited quantity, I do not need a huge amount of fabrics and can try many different styles.
However, most of our fabrics are sourced & shaped in Asia (as Mahka is based in Hong Kong).
Today we are talking about ethical and sustainable brands in Fashion. How do translate these aspects in your work?
Ethical and sustainability are two important values for Mahka. We integrate them in all the steps of our work. Starting from sharing these values with artists we collaborate with to our supplier & work technics. All steps are transparent.
What were your biggest challenges as a women entrepreneur?
I would prefer to say as an “entrepreneur” in general, and make no differentiation between Man or Woman.
The most challenging is to “go ahead” and “take the risk”. All is unknown and you can feel alone sometimes, but you are not.
The biggest challenge was opening the actual shop. The tricky part was the design. I’ve never done interior design in my life.
Any tips or recommendation you would share with new entrepreneurs in “Fashion”?
Don’t be shy. Ask advice. Don’t overthink too much. Trust and believe in yourself. Just trust yourself & don’t input you any boundaries!
Apart from “Mahka”, are there any brands you would recommend worth checking?
I love the spirit and the work the fashion label Imi&Kimi. It is a very authentic and qualitative brand. I also love the bohemian style of La Boheme fashion label. It is very feminine and really easy to wear. Also, I cannot live anymore without my La Fiancee du Facteur ring. It is very hard to select just a few brands… there are so many interesting in terms of DNA, quality & trends (from affordable to luxury). The most important is to stay curious and to check fashion according to your style.