Malawi to England – Two Cultures and Two Homes

The Roots #MalawiToMiddlesbrough

We at Cotilda.com are constantly being influenced by our surroundings, and no more so than the two areas we hold closest to our hearts; Lilongwe the capital city of Malawi, is the birthplace of our founder Cotilda, and Middlesbrough (Teesside) in England, is the establishment of our business.

‘The Warm Heart of Africa’ as it is known, Malawi is centred in the Middle of Africa while others say it is in Southern Africa known for the warm people, the food, the Wildlife and Lake Malawi, which are just a few of the attractions of Cotilda’s motherland.

Malawi and Middlesbrough seemingly may have little in common; ‘Boro’ is renowened for parmos, football matches, nights out and cold weather endurance, no jackets required!

Both Malawi and Middlesbrough are also areas in transition, with the latter benefitting in recent years from the cool, independent bars of Baker and Bedford Street, the quayside redevelopment and the BOHO initiative; ensuring creative and digital businesses will play a part in the city’s landscape for years to come. Not forgetting MIMA Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, working with the local community and businesses to express their craft. In fact we were lucky enough to work with MIMA in the summer of 2016. Check out some of the pictures.

Whereas Malawi is receiving a lot of outside help from developed countries and individuals, notably celebrity support investing in education, hospitals and wildlife in order to empower people to invest in their own means rather than depending on aid. Some of these celebrities who are inputting in the country are Rihanna, Madonna (Raising Malawi), Prince Harry and Roger Federer, Musicians through the Beating Heart Album (Soundtrack which we used at Africa Fashion Week London 2016 Two Cultures and Two Homes Blog). Although Malawi is receiving a lot of outside help it also in transition of developing itself through various local projects, much of which are among young entrepreneurs.

Underneath the surface, both areas are hard-wired with a spirit and resilience that can’t help but have an impact on the people who live there. We’re deeply proud to have roots in both areas that are of African and the Western origins, represented through our slogan ‘African Inspired Fashion for Urban Taste’ also referring to our habitat of ‘Two Cultures and Two Homes.’

Of course, it’s not just in design that the influence can be found. Getting the business off the ground would never have been possible without the support of friends, family, business associates and the support received from Teesside University; from education to a design space to practical advice and seminars – we will be forever grateful for the backing we have received.

The Cotilda.com journey is sure to take us far and wide to a number of different places but no matter how many places we go, it is these two places that will always remain special.


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