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The brand turning reclaimed life jackets into a fashion statement

Founded by former refugee Mohamed Malim, Epimonia is a start-up dedicated to raising awareness about the global displacement crisis.

Today, over 280 million people around the world live outside their home country. Most of them are migrants, people who choose to leave in search of better opportunities.

A staggering 35 per cent (100 million) of them, however, are refugees. Those fleeing their native lands due to war, persecution, and other devastating factors beyond their control.

With the global total of forcibly displaced people at the highest level since records began, raising awareness about this rising – not to mention deeply concerning – trend has never been more important.

That’s why 23-year-old former refugee turned social entrepreneur Mohamed Malim founded Epimonia (which means perseverance in Greek), a fashion label dedicated to starting more realistic and balanced conversations about the crisis.

Image for This fashion label turns refugee lifejackets into statement clothing

How? By taking lifejackets from the Greek island of Lesbos, those worn by refugees when they crossed the Mediterranean, and turning them into statement pieces such as beanies, various items of clothing, and bracelets.

The latter being Epimonia’s signature product, half the profits of which are donated to US organisations that practically support refugees, with education and advancement, for example.

‘People see you wearing orange, ask about it, and then you can talk about the company and about refugees,’ says Malim, who adds that his company’s seamsters are all refugees as well.

‘I chose the word ‘Epimonia’ because refugees go through many challenges and persevere throughout the whole journey. When you wear an Epimonia garment, you’re wearing something very powerful. It’s solidarity – you’re standing with refugees around the world.’


During its first year of business, Epimonia generated $40K in sales, provided refugee students in America with college scholarships, and paid numerous application fees for refugees when they became U.S. citizens. Almost half a decade later, and over $45K has been donated since. Not only this, but Epimonia has so far recycled more than 500 lifejackets.

‘My goal was to combat anti-refugee rhetoric from politicians, parts of the media, and the public by sharing success stories,’ continues Malim.

‘The more you give, the more you are blessed. I am grateful to be in this position where I can help my fellow refugees achieve their dreams.’

Looking ahead, Malim wants to start creating apparel from tents that have been left in Greece, ensuring that Epimonia continues to grow, to have a large impact, and to encourage people to be more empathetic by helping as many refugees as they possibly can.