The Fashion Start-up Manusia will be testing its rental fashion business model at the Change Hub at Square from May 9-13. Rental fashion allows individuals to affordably rent trendy fashion items for a limited period. Through rental fashion people can dress themselves with a wide selection of clothing for special occasions while minimizing environmental impact and reducing waste by prolonging the lifecycle of each fashion item.
Lorena Madarena, HSG M.A. Candidate in Business Innovation (MBI-HSG) and HSG Alumna Emma Kistemaker founded Manusia in 2018. The name Manusia is indonesian and means “human”. Therefore, the start-up thrives to transform the fashion industry as much as possible.
The founders’ journey began with various sustainability seminars at university that raised awareness of the darker side of the fashion industry. They were appalled by the negative impact of fast fashion on the environment and the conditions in which workers have to live in cotton plantations, factories and manufactories.
A study trip to Indonesia intensified their horror. That’s why Lorena and Emma first tried to find fashion labels in Switzerland that produce sustainably and fairly on the one hand and on the other hand also correspond to their clothing style. However, they did not find anything, so they decided to start their own label.
In 2018 Lorena and Emma applied for the HSG Entrepreneurial Talents Programme with “Manusia” and got accepted. With the seed money of the university, they produced their first sustainable & ethical collection for Women’s Business Wear. The start-up guaranteed 100% GOTS certified organic cotton for the entire key piece collection, to ensure a massive reduction of chemicals and water use in the agricultural process. The clothing was produced in Izmir, Turkey – from cotton bud to woven material. It was produced by a design-to-delivery Dutch-Turkish garment supplier, specialized on providing a wide range of organic and ethical products. Lorena and Emma visited all production sites to get a first-hand impression of the environmental and social performance, checked working contracts and developed a cooperation.
In 2019 Manusia became the first supplier of Manor AG, which is specialized in sustainable and fair fashion.
In 2021, Manusia won the Undress-Fashion Award at the annual Undress Fashion Show and was invited to sell the collection at PKZ. Manusia also produced a summer collection using leftover deadstock fabric, that would otherwise go to waste. Naturally, this collection varies in the number of pieces, while the team worked hard to make the most out of every fabric.
Have a look at the pop-up store to learn more about the journey of Manusia and get in touch with their founders. Meet Lorena and staff at SQUARE from Monday, May 9 to Friday, May 13 and from 7 am to 9pm.