Image: Lauren Brits

Mors is an initiative that upskills the unemployed through the manufacturing of furniture and bags from tyre tubes collected at landfills. We chat to founder Raihana Govender about their process, challenges and highlights.

Tell us about your team and your brand’s commitment to upliftment?

I have a brilliant team of guys that work in the studio and assist with the manufacturing of all the handmade products. One of the guys, that has been with Mors from the very beginning, was a taxi driver in Malawi and has now started a small side business using the skills acquired from Mors, making bags and various other products from leather offcuts.

Our machine stitched bags are outsourced to an ex-factory worker, Josi, who started a small business from her home in Delft. She has employed a few of the local women in her community to assist her in her business and is teaching them everything she knows. By supporting her it helps create consistent employment for the ladies and so there is positive ripple effect.

Where does the inspiration come from when creating or designing each piece?

From everywhere and everyone! My mind’s constantly switched on so when I see something beautiful or inspiring I immediately think of ways to incorporate it into a Mors product.

Tell us a bit about your brand’s commitment to following a green path.

To follow a green path is a way of life and fulfils your social responsibility as a human being. Mors strives to help the community, humanity and the environment. Sustainability is key to reduce or prevent the effect of environmental issues and we would like to create awareness around sustainability so that we all become conscious consumers. By manufacturing products from recycled material I believe we are creating that awareness. It’s small actions combined that play a huge role in protecting the planet.

What drives you as a brand?

To create awareness and promote sustainable products that are local and ethically produced.

Why tyre tubes as a material and how do you find working with them as a medium? Are you looking at working with any other materials in the future?

With the overflowing of landfills and tyre waste being such a serious problem I thought, “why not create beautiful products from this material?”

I have already started working with other materials and am constantly looking at new designs and fabrics to incorporate. I do have something in the pipeline that I am working on with women from Gugulethu – so watch this space.

Image: Lauren Brits
What are some of the challenges you face?

Changing the mindsets of South African consumers to become more conscious and creating awareness around sustainable products. My experience is that South Africans would rather spend a fortune on a designer product instead of spending on a product that’s manufactured locally from recycled material. This mindset however is slowly changing which makes me hopeful that we’re heading in the right direction.

Rubber is not always an easy material to work with. People think it’s similar to leather and that youre able to make the same products from the rubber as you would with leather, this is not the case. Theres a lot of trial and error involved before the final product is completed to satisfaction.

The rubber is also a very dull material and this is where one needs to be creative by incorporating other materials to make it more colourful, fun and vibey.

What’s been your brands highlight to date?

The overwhelmingly positive response received when Launching at Maison & Objet in 2015 as well as the reaction from people when they discover that the original material was once an inner tyre tube, as Mors products are often mistaken for just another leather bag.

How important is community in your work?

Community is an integral part of Mors. A healthy community is a healthy society. We want to assist with skills development and job creation giving people a sense of self-worth creating a more dignified community.

How important is collaboration to your brand?

There’s so much local talent out there that I would love to work with. We live in a global village. Collaboration brings inspiration, unity, and amazing friendships develop. It creates a platform for designers to feed off each other and exchange thoughts, ideas and networks. I’m also able to look at things from a different perspective when hearing different opinions which is great for growth.

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