Images Courtesy of Muzungu Sisters
FOR DANA ALIKHANI AND TATIANA SANTO DOMINGO, INSPIRATION ARISES FROM THE UNLIKELIEST OF PLACES. Whether it’s uncovering Fair Trade cooperatives in South America that construct boleros tailored from Alpaca wool or working with Moroccan artisans who intricately embroider caftans, the pair behind London-based label Muzungu Sisters, has all but trademarked the term “nomad chic.” Since launching their site in 2011, both Alikhani and Santo Domingo have crisscrossed the globe to far-flung destinations from Marrakesh to Jaipur hunting down jewelry, accessories and clothing, which are all ethically produced by native artisans, and soon become “It” items for European glitterati. (Think: Brazilian Mochila bags, bohemian Greek smocks and traditional kilim slippers.) “We definitely like fashion but neither Dana or I are fashion victims or care to follow trends,” Santo Domingo has said. “We wear what we like and what we feel comfortable in.” To wit, on any given day the two might pair their Muzungu wares with a piece from Topshop or a vintage Moschino jacket. “The whole head to toe look isn’t really out style,” added Alikhani who has a Masters degree in Human Rights and Development. “It doesn’t feel natural to me. It never did.” Below, we spoke with the pair who revealed that their interest in fair trade suppliers goes beyond the realm of fashion and into their philosophy on health and well-being.
You both are constantly traveling, how do you keep healthy while on the go?
DANA: By getting enough sleep and drinking lots of water.
TATIANA: I try to sleep enough and eat well.
Do you have a morning routine?
TATIANA: I drink hot water with lemon first thing in the morning.
DANA: I drink matcha or rooibos tea, and some days I have a green juice too.
What is your favorite healthy meal to cook at home?
DANA: Lately I’m into making steamed cavolo nero with lemon and chili, or my own variation of Persian celery and mint stew with a side salad of cucumber, mint and pomegranate.
TATIANA: Quinoa salad with mint, cucumber, tomatoes and any other seasonal vegetables. It’s fresh and delicious.
What is your philosophy on diet?
TATIANA: I try to eat good fresh produce and avoid processed foods as much as possible.
DANA: My mum has been into eating organic and unprocessed food and went through phases of eating solely macrobiotic food for as long as I can remember, so I definitely picked up a sense of mindfulness about what we put into our bodies.
What foods do you turn to for comfort or when you’re feeling under the weather?
DANA: Chicken and rice soup or spicy ramen soup with lots of ginger and chili to clear out the sinuses.
TATIANA: Rice and beans, the Brazilian national dish.
Do you have any favorite self-care routines?
TATIANA: I love acupuncture and reflexology. They can usually fix just about anything that’s wrong.
DANA: I really love acupuncture and I have a great Chinese doctor in London who does acupuncture and acupressure. It really helps sort out lots of niggling issues. I also do the occasional yoga class.
Do you ever frequent farmer’s markets or buy local, organic produce?
DANA: Yes, supporting small-scale producers is the cornerstone of Muzungu Sisters, and buying local, organic, grass-fed, free-range produce has always been an important part of the way I eat, for health reasons among others.
TATIANA: I’ve always tried to eat local, organic produce and I would definitely agree that this is part of the “Muzungu Sisters lifestyle.”
TATIANA: Muzungu Sisters pashmina and mochila bag.