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Virgil Abloh shows his support for Afro Fashion Week in Milan – WWD




MILAN – On the occasion of its sixth anniversary, Afro Fashion Week Milan is building on the seeds it has sown so far – forging new partnerships and winning the support of Virgil Abloh.

Louis Vuitton’s male artistic director and founder of Off-White designs a T-shirt that will be sold through the Afro Fashion Association website to raise funds and support his initiatives.

The new edition of Afro Fashion Week, organized by the Italy-based non-profit association that has actively promoted designers and creative talents from the African continent over the past six years, will take place from September 23-26 and will include a range of fashion shows and conferences. for which he continues to be associated with the Camera della Moda, as well as to forge new links with Sistema Moda Italia.

“We broached the subject of diversity and inclusion before it tended to do so, this year our focus is on the second-hand market in developing countries and in particular on the African continent “, explained Michelle Francine Ngonmo, president of the association, during a virtual press conference. Wednesday.

The theme will extend to all events on the calendar and refer to the ‘mitumba’ phenomenon, such as the resale of second-hand clothes originally donated to Africa by wealthy countries and delivered in wrapped packaging. plastic, or packages, called mitumba in Swahili. .

It should result in fashion collections rich in upcycling and recycling techniques, for which the exhibitors of Milano Unica, represented by SMI, have supplied textiles.

Designer Stella Jean, partner of the Afro Fashion Association and the mastermind behind the Black Lives Matter in Italian Fashion Collective with Edward Buchanan and Ngonmo, said the theme is intended to “highlight an issue that is often overlooked or unseen. . It’s basically a skeleton in an open closet.

Jean and Buchanan actively tutored and advised the 11 designers participating in the 2021 edition of Afro Fashion Week, also from a creative point of view. This year’s “Fab Five Bridge Builders International” will include color designers from around the world. The group will include five designers born in Cameroon who studied at LABA University in Douala, as well as six creatives based in Italy but coming among others from Burkina Faso, Burundi, Vietnam and Kenya.

Five designers from five different African countries will be highlighted as part of the “We Are Made in Italy” project which will kick off Milan Fashion Week on September 22.

“Mentoring and tutoring activity is essential in supporting and encouraging people to learn their own worth and improve their skills to become the person they want to be,” Buchanan said. “BIPOC does not necessarily have a mentor and education is not always affordable and available,” he added.

To that end, the designer highlighted the imminent launch of a database of 300,000 people of color connected to fashion industries, such as stylists, designers, dressmakers, webmasters and social media managers, which will be made available to industry.

“The industry often complains that it cannot find people at BIPOC to fill their vacancies. [of the database] is to avoid those complaints and excuses, ”Buchanan said.




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