Valley clothing designer supports elephants through fashion


Julija Kaselyte

Local fashion designer, Misha Mendicino, creates bohemian, resort style clothing for a cause.

Inspired by her mother’s love for elephants, a portion of the profits made from Mendicino’s clothing go toward helping elephants in Africa.

“Every day we are losing generations of elephants and it’s so unnecessary and heartbreaking at the same time to think that we’re doing this to them,” Mendicino said in regards to illegal elephant poaching and deforestation in Africa.

Mendicino is partnered with The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a non-for-profit charity which operates in Kenya.

According to Mendicino, the charitable organization’s main focus is dedicated to protecting wild animals, with an emphasis on elephant conservation.

“I just felt in my heart that I should do something to help and that’s why I really decided to start my line,” Mendicino said. “Ethical fashion really is a way to give back to the elephants,” Mendicino said.

Without any formal training in fashion design, Mendicino said she began sketching down ideas, and soon developed a line with a team overseas.


Annually, Mendicino embarks on a 24 hour flight journey to turn her sketches and ideas into stylish garments.

“I actually go every year to visit my factory in Indonesia and I sit down with the factory and the team, design my line, and do fittings while I’m there.”

After living in Hawaii for many years, Mendicino said that her designs are inspired by the tropics and other cultures.

“My style changes a little from time to time but the style that I really love is the comfortable, effortless, and chic,” Mendicino said.

Currently, Mendicino is busy preparing for her first time participating in Phoenix Fashion Week, while also finishing her fall line due out in October.

“I’m using a different fabric which flows very nicely, and again I’m incorporating some tropical prints and some fall colors,” Mendicino said.

In the future, Mendicino aspires to grow her business nationally, while continuing to support the protection and conservation of African elephants.

To shop Mendicino’s designs and to learn more about elephant and animal conservation in Africa, visit

Mesa Legend Staff

Mesa Legend Staff

Stories contributed by MCC journalism students. See end of each article for corresponding authors.
Mesa Legend Staff

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