With the birth of the newest heir to the throne last month everyone is thinking about babies. And every parent understands the fragility of a new little person – every need requiring your total attention, love and care.
A new baby, alongside the nappies and sleepless nights, makes you reflect upon the meaning of life and when you get to that point there is a special empathy for other parents. A new baby is a challenge even for the aristocracy of this world. But then put yourself and your newborn in the centre of a war or a famine.
Well, British childrenswear brand, Michiko & Me, have taken that sensation and extended it into a partnership with charity, Action Against Hunger – an international humanitarian organisation committed to ending child hunger.
Michiko and Me is a new range of ethically sourced and produced luxury clothing for little girls. The Liberty fabrics and oriental kids kimono styles are cut by hand from the Michiko studio in London by skilled seamstresses. A small, homegrown brand, the Michiko and Me founder, Nikki Lumb, has taken the decision to donate between £1 and £5 from every purchase to the Action Against Hunger cause. Running deep into Nikki’s personal sense of responsibility and empathy, the partnership is an inspiring example of how small labels can use their success to support causes close to their hearts, adding an emotional extra dimension to their work.
We met Nikki at the recent Bubble London show, and the Michiko and Me range is just lovely – the summer 2014 offering has some of the most wonderful fabric prints and the concept is original and striking – a great and unique addition to the wardrobe of any little girl. So fluxlings would say there are at least three good reasons to put your little girl in Michiko and Me. First of all, the kimonos and dresses are unique and gorgeous, second the brand is a homegrown UK label and finally you are supporting a wonderful cause all at the same time. Afterall, there is an added satisfaction from knowing your purchase goes further than the pure creative or commercial.
So what does Nikki have to add on her decision to work so closely with Action Against Hunger?
NIKKI LUMB: Worldwide there are 55 million children aged five or younger who are suffering from acute malnutrition. Over a third of these children, an estimated 19 million, suffer from the most severe form of acute malnutrition. Without treatment, these children are at imminent risk of death. Poor nutrition can also permanently affect mental and physical growth in the early years of a child’s life robbing whole communities of a future.
Did something trigger the decision to support Action Against Hunger?
NIKKI LUMB: My younger daughter ended up in hospital as she couldn’t feed and the experience of being unable to feed my own child was very painful. Many people aren’t in a position where they can access the great care we can so I wanted to work with an organisation who directly addressed this most basic necessity – nutrition.
Why did you choose this charity in particular?
NIKKI LUMB: Action Against Hunger have a good reputation for effective programmes – and keeping administrative costs low so more goes to those who need it.
How does it fit with the values you share as a family?
NIKKI LUMB: We’ve always had a strong charitable ethos and donate 10% of salary to charities each year. We are lucky enough to be able to do this, as we figured out early and before we could afford it really, that if we didn’t have it we wouldn’t miss it. Likewise with the business I decided to start the charitable giving from the first year rather than waiting.
What work does Action Against Hunger do? Does it work in Britain?
NIKKI LUMB: Action Against Hunger addresses the underlying causes of hunger by investing in agricultural and farming practices; restoring livelihoods after a crisis; helping people to cope with disasters; promoting sound childcare practices; and implementing an array of water sanitation and hygiene projects. Action Against Hunger has been working for over 30 years to meet the immediate and long term needs of millions of children and families worldwide.
The Michiko and Me kids kimono collection is available from www.michikoandme.com.