AFRO FASHION ASSOCIATION MILAN
Fab 5 We Are Made in Italy
The Fab 5 Bridge Builders are ﬁve Afro-descendent designers living and working in Italy, discovered and brought to international attention by the Afro Fashion Association and supported by the mentorship of renowned designers Stella Jean and Edward Buchanan. Through this project we endeavour to highlight the issues of access and representation that exist for Black designers in the Italian fashion industry and to also talk about multiculturalism in Italy. In a rapidly changing country and world, “Made in Italy” is not a question of colour but of know-how and talent. The fashion industry needs to work harder to reflect the society we are living in. Fashion is a powerful tool, playing an enormous role in shaping how we view and value people. When it changes, it changes not just for the good of fashion but for the society at large that is then going to embody and reflect those values back.
This project launched at the September 2021 Milan Fashion Week, when the Fab 5 Bridge Builders became the first dedicated showcase of Afro fashion to ever be listed in the official calendar of events by the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana. It continues with annual editions and has also expanded into an annual international project of cultural exchange called the Fab 5 Bridge Builders International.
The F/W 2021 Collections
Meet the Designers
Cameroon-born designer Claudia Gisèle Ntsama’s FW 2021-2022 collection is titled 100% Eco-Sustainable.” All pieces are handmade in Italy from all-natural materials and pigments, pushing the aesthetic boundaries of sustainability. Her style is inspired by the world of contemporary art and Asian fashion. She loves designing fabrics for clothing and fashion in general.
Burundi-born Marche-based designer Fabiola Manirakiza of Frida-Kiza calls her FW 2021-2022 collection “Thinking Green.” Originally trained as a doctor, she began to create clothes for herself and her friends after studying fashion abroad, with a style rooted in the culture and art of Italy.
Born in Morocco, Karim Daoudi is a young designer who lives in San Mauro Pascoli. His new capsule collection, Toucan, is inspired by the birds from
central & south America and by the warm colors of Africa.
Joy Ijeoma Meribe was born in Nigeria. After graduating in Foreign Languages and Literatures in 2003 she moved to Italy and specialized in cultural / linguistic mediation, later obtaining a Master’s degree in International Business Studies in Reggio Emilia. Long passionate about fashion design, she attended a fashion school connected to the Istituto Burgo circuit in Modena and Bologna while continuing her other professional activities. In 2017 she launched her brand, which she defines as “Afropolitan Made in Italy,” and created her first collection.
Based in Rome, Senegalese fashion designer Pape Macodou Fall, alias Mokodu, launches his Afro Fashion Debut with “Upcycled.”