Ethical streetwear co-operative Top Manta says profits will help migrant vendors ‘become legal and work for a decent wage’
After years of selling cheap copies of designer shoes and handbags, Barcelona’s street vendors have set up a co-operative and launched a line of trainers under the brand name Top Manta.
Unlike an earlier attempt to establish a brand in 2017 by sticking a logo on shoes imported from China, the trainers are made in Alicante in Spain and Porto in Portugal.
“We have always been criticised and persecuted for selling copies, but now we have our own brand,” Lamine Sarr, a Top Manta spokesman, told the Guardian.
The co-operative’s spectacular launch presented the Ande Dem trainers, which means “walking together” in Wolof, the language spoken by most manteros (vendors), who are mainly from Senegal.
The name Top Manta comes from the blanket (manta) vendors lay their wares on. The logo is of a blanket, but also represents waves to reflect the fact that most manteros arrived in Spain after making the hazardous journey by sea in small inflatable boats.