Based in Italy and Cameroon, the Afro Fashion Association is a volunteer-driven non-profit organization founded in 2015. We believe in the transformative potential of fashion, design, art, and culture as a means for cross-cultural exchange, empowerment, and sustainable economic development.
Provide support to emerging designers and elevate established designers to new heights. Our multi-pronged approach to talent cultivation and support comprises fashion shows, trade fairs and exhibitions, buyer events, mentorship, and education evolving to changing needs. From our flagship events of Afro Fashion Week and Afro Walks, we’ve worked to develop an entire ecosystem of equity for emerging and under-recognized African and Afro-descendent designers, as well as others whose work shares a meaningful connection with the continent, based on the needs that we see and experience in the industry. True inclusion means providing an entire support structure for under-recognized designers through which they can showcase their work, enter international markets, connect with buyers, and see their success celebrated and promoted.
Promote BIPOC talents & African brands
With a database of around 1400 registered Afro designers both on the continent and in diaspora, our association has a wide network of BIPOC fashion influencers, designers, and other industry professionals in Italy and throughout the world. Through our events to date we have promoted the work of about 80 Fashion designers. Our regular collaborations with fashion universities in Africa put us in continual contact with top emerging talent to whom we seek to provide opportunities to engage with the fashion industry on an international stage.
Influence industry standards
We seek to influence industry standards through continental collaboration, consulting services including in association with the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, and other work.
Encourage investment in Afro fashion
We provide a platform for direct international investment towards African fashion, beauty, and the arts. This is a communication question as much as it is an economic one. We are passionate about promoting an experience of African fashion centered not on wax prints and trends but on the unique vision and innovation that Afro designers can contribute to the broader industry.
Where we work
Our work in Italy and Cameroon is synergistic. Across both we promote diversity and inclusion in the fashion, design, art, and culture industries and advance an identity of Africa rooted in its abundance, creativity, culture, and innovation. Our events and services provide an international platform to showcase and support the work of emerging African, Afro descedent, and Afro-inspired designers.
Further work is tuned to the needs and opportunities we have identified in each local context:
- We work on education and sensitivity training, examining representation and multiculturalism in today’s society using fashion as a communication tool
- Generate audience and markets for Afro-owned products and services
- We work on the empowerment of BIPOC companies in order to make them more aware of their value and counter the growing tokenism in society
- Collaborate with universities in Italy and abroad to support BIPOC youth and activate scholarship and mentoring programs that will create viable post graduate placement opportunities to qualified talents
- Strengthen local capacity to leverage arts and culture as an engine for social and economic development
- Build professional skills and exhibition opportunities for students and emerging professionals
- Develop services to support women’s empowerment and economic development
- Working with universities on courses, labs, and other opportunities
Meet our founder
Founder and President Michelle Ngonmo is a Cameroonian who arrived in Italy at a young age. She holds a degree in Audiovisual and Multimedia Communication and a Master’s in Foreign Languages. After several internships abroad, including at the Belgian Ministry of Culture, she returned to Milan to found the Afro Fashion Association in 2015, where she continues to serve as Executive Director.
Michelle frequently teaches as a visiting professor in universities in both Milan and Cameroon. She also serves as the director of All-TV and president of the African Students Association in Ferrara, in addition to leading a variety of other cultural projects.