Five Africa-born designers open digital Milan Fashion Week - GulfToday

Five Africa-born designers open digital Milan Fashion Week

fashion africa 1

Model present creations by African fashion designers.

Gulf Today Report

Born in different parts of Africa but all operating under the Made in Italy brand, here are the five designers who opened Milan Fashion Week as part of a collective on Wednesday.

Fabiola Manirakiza came to Italy as a child from Burundi and first trained as a doctor.

She used this skill when she founded her label Frida Kiza in Italy in 2016, the name a tribute to Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.


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She describes her work as a "mix between Africa and Italy", like her silk scarves with Masai prints inspired by Botticelli's painting, "Primavera" (Spring).

Claudia Gisele Ntsama, 29, born in Cameroon, has since childhood wanted to be a designer and particularly in Italy, as "fashion is Italy".

Karim fashion Africa 1 Fashion designer Karim Daoudi stands on the catwalk. AP

She spent eight years learning Italian before moving to Italy in 2012, where she worked in odd jobs -- in cleaning and at football stadium entrances among others -- before getting a diploma in design from Bologna.

She "fell in love" with hemp, "one of the most ecological fibres", and built her own label, according to AFP.

Mokodu Fall, 45, originally from Senegal, has worked as a cartoonist, actor and then painter. He came to Italy at the age of 22 "to experience the art and culture".

"My collection reflects my African origins," explained the diplomat's son who splits his time between Rome and Dunkirk in the north of France.

"They are works of art that I transpose onto clothes."

fashion africa 2Fashion designer Gisele Claudia Ntsama poses with models during the Black Lives Matter Fall/Winter 2021/22 collection. AP

Joy Meribe, who is originally from Nigeria, started out working in Italy as a cultural mediator.

She obtained a Masters in international business before entering fashion, adding: "I'm not an ethnic designer, I live in Italy, I studied in Italy and I produce in Italy."

Her inspiration? "Strong, intelligent African women, like my grandmothers."

Karim Daoudi, born in Morocco 27 years ago, arrived in San Mauro Pascoli in northern Italy at the age of 13 with his family, "looking for a better future".

"At 17, I started working in a workshop making shoes for major brands," before winning a competition on shoe design in Rome.

His collection, entitled "Journey into the forest", brings together shoes in bright colours that remind him of Morocco.

To finance his passion, he works as a postman.

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