About Us

Founded in 2019, Maria Callisto caters to women who want unique, hand-made, and high quality lingerie for every-day glamour and for special occasions."

We pair traditional craftsmanship with sustainable innovation, giving pre-loved fabrics a new life by re-fashioning them into truly unique and special pieces

At Maria Callisto, we celebrate and empower sensuality. We aim to provide elegant designs that not only look good but feel good, with each individual item made to measure for the best possible fit and highest quality. Our products are handmade in our Suffolk studio, and the materials we use are either sustainably sourced or upcycled.

 

Our Founder Maria Igwebuike is originally from Nigeria, and moved with her family to the UK when she was eleven years old. She was fortunate to discover her passion for fashion and design from an early age and spent most of her free time sketching, hand sewing and DIY-ing. Maria studied Fashion Design at Suffolk New college and later specialised in a  Lingerie Pattern Cutting course at the London College of Fashion. She is inspired by nature and emotions and those clearly influence her designs. She combines her knowledge of garment making and pattern making to create flattering silhouettes and timeless lingerie.

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Find out all the causes we support.
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Our Mission and Values

Maria Callisto is a unique, refugee-led business. We put community needs at the heart of everything we do.

 

We support individuals (especially women) from refugee and disadvantaged backgrounds and being a point of entry into the fashion industry. Beyond providing job opportunities,we hope to enable our target group to build skills (like pattern cutting) and get a consistent income to further integrate into society and support their families. 

 

We prioritise inclusivity by providing luxury to everyday women, regardless of their body types.

 

We love our planet and our lingerie does too. Sustainability is at the core of our brand. We aim to reduce the negative impact fashion has on our environment by using dead-stock and remnants of fabric. We rescue beautiful, pre-loved items like wedding dresses from heading to landfill, and instead give these fabrics another life by fashioning our unique lingerie.

ABOUT ME

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Our Founder Maria Igwebuike is originally from Nigeria, and moved with her family to the UK when she was eleven years old. She was fortunate to discover her passion for fashion and design from an early age and spent most of her free time sketching, hand sewing and DIY-ing. Maria studied Fashion Design at Suffolk New college and later specialised in a  Lingerie Pattern Cutting course at the London College of Fashion. She is inspired by nature and emotions and those clearly influence her designs. She combines her knowledge of garment making and pattern making to create flattering silhouettes and timeless lingerie.

What We Do

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At Maria Callisto, it's important to us to create a sense of community for the refugees we support. We do this by....

1. Providing employment for refugee women (either freelance or inhouse):

We help women to use their skills and to gain work experience in the UK.  Today, we are working with our seamstress from Iran and our web developer from Ukraine.

Many of the women we support were skilled workers prior to entering the UK, from backgrounds including seamstresses all the way through to web developers and general professionals prior. However, many are obliged to compromise by taking jobs in industries where they cannot utilise their skills, either due to language barriers or their specific status from the home office and family lives.

The long term goal is for the people we work with to also get the chance to achieve their own dreams with sustainable awareness in the fashion industry and feel integrated enough to also support other marginalised groups.

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2. Running the “Trinity Workshops” to raise awareness for feminine health issues:

We started our Trinity Project with an aim to normalise and celebrate menstrual health. Supporting and highlighting period poverty is important, and Maria Callisto strongly values social impact and strives to support women from vulnerable communities.

In October 2021, we held our first workshops with Suffolk Refugee support to create a safe space for women to openly discuss everything related to periods and feminine health. We learnt how to make reusable pads, how to do the perfect yoga poses to help with period cramps, and heard from a specialist [name] about issues related to menopause.

In February 2022, we supported The Pachamama Project by donating period products like pads, wipes, hand sanitiser, and underwear to 30 women in refugee camps in Lebanon.

Read more about the Trinity Project here.