Mutha Ship is an independent clothing brand making unique T-shirts that champion female empowerment and put strong women at the centre of their creative ethos. Founded by mums Esme and Nikki, the pair were brought together by a close friendship and desire to both heal and share their own experiences with motherhood. Speaking to York Fashion Week, they explained why Mutha Ship isn't just about selling T-Shirts, but creating a community of women looking out for one another.
Mutha Ship isn’t your typical T-Shirt company. Each garment has its own piece of beautifully designed graphic artwork, sporting catchy slogans and quirky illustrations. Fusing femininity with a punk rock vibe, the shirts hope to make women feel powerful when wearing them. “It’s about being different, and not being afraid to put things on a T-Shirt that other people might not,” they explain. Take their ‘Woman Up’ tee, for example, which transforms the sexist phrase ‘man up’ into a swirling symbol of strength.
According to Esme and Nikki, Mutha Ship came about after the pair’s experiences with motherhood. “Esme and I had our second baby around the same time,” Nikki explains. “Two weeks after her second child, she was left a single mum, while I was suffering from severe postnatal depression.” They decided to come together, and collaborate on something that would help one another heal. “The designs gave Esme an outlet for the pain she was going through, and I got involved to help me with postnatal depression and social anxiety.” Out of a dark time, the creation of Mutha Ship provided love and support to both women. “It gave Esme the opportunity for her to process what she was going through, and for me to bring myself out of the darkness I was in.” Now the pair feel like they’ve grown as people. “It’s brought us closer together as friends. We’ve known each other for 15 years, and prior to this with life, family, and work, we’d never see each other as much.”
In the spirit of this close friendship, Mutha Ship believes in bringing women together.
“When we see women wearing our T-Shirts, it feels like we’re part of a club. We’re all there to connect with each other, and help with whatever we might be going through.” And this is the same for their social media accounts, where the pair offer support and guidance to their followers. “You wouldn’t usually go to a couple thousand people on Instagram, but even if our story helps just one person, then it’s worth it.” In their local community, the brand has taken off as well. “I’ll go to the Asda down the road and see other women wearing our T-Shirts. I just want to go up to them and hug them! By just wearing a T-Shirt, they don’t know what that support means to us.”
Mutha Ship were thrilled to take part in York Fashion Week. For them the runway is an opportunity to put small brands in the spotlight. “We felt a bit nervous about putting ourselves out there, but it’s such an honour to be involved. It allows us to be seen in an environment with other brands, and we’re so proud of it.”
Written by Maya Bewley