Designing a socially impactful collection
MÄVINN, the name of the IKEA Social Entrepreneurship collection coming June 2023, means "having the wind at your back" in the dialect of , Sweden, where IKEA was founded. The socially impactful collection generates forward momentum for our social business partners, the people they employ and their communities.
IKEA designers Paulin Machado and Maria Vinka worked with our social business partners to develop a new limited collection inspired by their love for travel and diverse social impact with tactile natural and classic denim.
"We want the MÄVINN collection to take people back to the local markets we've visited so they may experience the varied textures and designs we've fallen in love with. We think we can produce a more genuine and more sustainable home design experience by fusing traditional and modern elements", says Paulin.
“When creating a product, it's important to consider the location where it will be produced. For example, if a certain area is skilled in weaving with banana fibre, that is a good material to use for the collection. However, it's also important to think about the need for job opportunities. A more diverse and more sustainable product can be created by combining multiple materials and utilising the skills of multiple communities”, says Paulin.
Selecting sustainable materials
Combining traditional craftmanship with the IKEA approach to modern design, the materials selected for the collection played a central role in development. The products are made from materials that lower environmental impact – including jute, banana made from food waste, cotton from more sustainable sources, and textiles made from overrun production denim; most of which were sourced from the regions the social business suppliers are based.
“During our travels in India and Bangladesh, Maria and I met social entrepreneurs who were making this collection. We were particularly impressed by the lampshade made from natural banana fibre, which is a one-year crop. Rather than letting the trunks go to waste, they are dried and cut into strips that are braided or woven”, says Paulin.
The natural material is used by PT and Ramesh Flowers in India, and Classical Handmade Products Bangladesh, all of which have products featured in the collection.
At Doi Tung in Thailand, paper products are also made from the bark of mulberry trees. Without damaging the tree, bark can be peeled away, soaked to remove impurities, ground to a pulp then passed through a screen and left to dry.
Collaborating for social impact and creating income opportunities
The social business partners creating MÄVINN have different methods and models of social impact. , Vietnam, integrates persons with disabilities into its industrial production of denim and cotton products, including those made from pre-consumer textile waste. With a highly factory set-up, proves that social businesses can work on a big scale, too.
Through its social division , trains and employs people from disadvantaged backgrounds. By 2025, it aims to have at least 20% of its workforce consisting of persons with disabilities and disadvantaged youths.
The social impact is the most rewarding thing about working on this collection.
In India, Ramesh Flowers trains women from rural villages in the production of handmade products and is committed to bringing women from the factory floor into management positions. And at , in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, the women artisans are shareholders in the company. Spun, founded by the renowned Welspun Textile Group, provides jobs for women with no other family income. Through the production of skillfully crafted textile products, female artisans gain valuable skills to help them improve their lives and social status. Spun also provides education and healthcare opportunities to the women and their families.
What drives me is the ability to create a positive difference and empower women.
Founder of Classical Handmade Products Bangladesh, Tauhid Bin Abdus Salam, his business bringing work to rural communities, rather than establishing factories in major cities. Providing work for women in rural areas, allows families to stay together, cultivate their land and support their children through school.
In Thailand, the Doi Tung Development Project (DTDP) – based in the mountainous region in the North of the country – supports people from tribal groups by providing employment in handicrafts such as handwoven textiles, ceramics and papermaking. Papermaking had existed in the region for began to disappear in the 20th century. DTDP has planting mulberry trees from which to make paper, creating local jobs.