About Malaika Apparel Co.
Malaika Apparel at it's core aims to embody a distinguishable form of revolution. This brand is a practice that defies contemporary norms and aims to celebrate all people of color. The inspiration of Malaika Apparel is a challenge to the social conditions where Black representation is limited to its appropriation. Malaika Apparel is thus a call for agency and the empowerment of the Black/African Diaspora.
Envisioned in the spring of 2015, Rita Bunatal started to create designs that were inspired by the happiness, pain, frustration, joy, anger and excitement she felt in the midst of not only being a first generation African attending college, but also as a black woman living between the U.S. and Ghana. As a Communications Major, she was inspired by various misrepresentations of the narratives surrounding Black bodies in the media, as well as the misunderstanding of each other within the diaspora .
Malaika Apparel is dedicated to exhibiting fearless pride. This space is a place where people of color can buy apparel that tells the story of Black/ POC excellence. Malaika Apparel also creates a space for allies to show their solidarity with the essential Pro-Black movements that are ongoing and extremely necessary. Through this brand, we hope to also create products that also focus on the complexities of identity formations.
Currently, Rita Bunatal is living in New York & working in Marketing after having graduated Ithaca College in 2016.
She graduated with her B.S. in Communication Management and Design with a Corporate Communications focus and minors in African Diaspora studies & Communication studies. She identifies as a Ghanaian - Kenyan American & a Pan-African womanist. She is also very interested in exploring the complex identity formations of young Africans who continue to live between Africa and the United States. The designs created will be inspired by the experiences of a young diasporan & woman of color hoping to merge both experiences through simple and powerful designs.
From the name of this brand, to the small details with designs, business advice and the overall formation of the website and shop, this would not have been possible without the immense amount of support of family and friends as well as professors and departments at Ithaca College.