Nova Scotia·Fashion Profile

When upcycled style is a family affair

This Hubbards, N.S., family uses its fashion brand, KeiKaiKoa, as a vehicle to fight for respect, both for our environment and each other.

This Nova Scotia family uses fashion as a vehicle to fight for respect for the environment and people

KeiKaiKoa is all about repurposing clothing to minimize waste. (Musemo Handahu for CBC)

Melānie, Keilana and Kaidin — a mother-kiddo trio with a creative freedom that is alluring.

In a world where it's sometimes hard for generations to find common ground, this mama bear in Hubbards, N.S., has found a way of connecting with her children through cultivating their creativity.

After immigrating to Canada from the Philippines, Melānie Mendez Munden found herself missing the tropical energy and vibrant colours of home. The style in her new home felt a little muted and she began searching for more. 

As a young girl, she saved her money and spent it on fashion magazines. She would rip them apart to plaster her wall with editorials while she practised posing like the models. This led her to fashion school where she really thrived.

Melānie's passion trickled over to her children, which steered the family to create a fashion brand, KeiKaiKoa. It uses fashion as a vehicle to fight for a cause that is important to them — respect. That's respect for the environment and for each other.

The family chose this as their platform because of how much they cherish living close to nature and seeing first-hand how climate change is altering the environment on the coast they live on.

Keilana Munden, Kaidin Munden and Melanie Mendez Munden live in Hubbards, N.S. (Élana Camille for CBC)

KeiKaiKoa is all about repurposing clothing to minimize waste, creating digital prints inspired by the flora and fauna of their home and drawing from real-life situations. Their last collection shown at Atlantic Fashion Week was a 1950s inspired collection, an ode to Melānie's late mother.

When it comes to respecting each other, it all began when Kaidin was getting bullied in school. He wrote a heart-wrenching letter expressing how the bullying made him feel and the family decided to fight for him and others suffering in silence. This has helped him and others find their way back to happiness.

Melānie, Keilana and Kaidin are a great representation of when parents and children are able to advocate for the same things. Keilana and Kaidin are kind and passionate spirits that will surely give you a sense of peace that the future is in good hands!


Musemo Handahu |


Musemo Handahu is multi-faceted fashion creative based in Halifax. As a writer, she has contributed to The Huffington Post and covered fashion weeks in Toronto for Fashion Magazine and in Johannesburg & Cape Town for Essence Magazine.