Nigerian-born designer Joy Meribe opens Milan Fashion Week



Designer Joy Meribe greets the applause at the end of her Spring / Summer 2022 collection, unveiled during Milan Fashion Week, in Milan, Italy on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 (AP Photo / Luca Bruno)

MILAN (AP) – Nigerian-born designer Joy Meribe opened Milan Fashion Week on Wednesday with her first runway collection, a tangible success for a movement to promote diversity in Italian fashion just one year after its launch.

The National Italian Fashion Chamber has appealed to Meribe to open six days of premieres of women’s clothing for Spring / Summer 2022 after its inaugural collection for the initiative “We are Made in Italy” the year last was a commercial success.

“Beyond the video, proclamation or manifesto that we make, the real test is whether customers are buying your products. Joy passed this exam, ” said Italian-Haitian designer Stella Jean, who helped launch the initiative in the summer of 2020, asking the question: “Does black life matter in Italian fashion? ? ” inspired by the American movement and following the racist blunders of the great Italian fashion houses.

“It wouldn’t have been so quick if it hadn’t been for the acceleration from the US,” said Jean, who enjoyed the first-row success alongside the US-born Italian designer. Edward Buchanan and Afro Fashion. The founder of Milano Week Michelle Ngonmo.

Meribe broke down in tears after the show as she thanked the fashion chamber and the movement’s founders for bringing her to the catwalk.

The collection included ruffled and ruffled skirts and jackets with built-in capes that were both regal, as seen in an off-the-shoulder dress sweeping the floor and hip, including a daytime mini dress and an off-the-shoulder tunic. The textiles were an explosion of bright yellow against sky blue, with tropical prints depicting thatched cottages against blossoming banana trees, which Meribe said was meant to celebrate a return to more normalcy.

“We went from a dark moment and I wanted to create something full of hope and light, the joy of starting over,” she said backstage.

The initiative that launched Meribe opened its second edition this fashion week. designers.

“There is movement,” said Buchanan, the American designer behind the Sansovino 6 label. “Sure, everything takes time, but it kind of takes an industry to get used to the idea that they are talents like any other. ”

To highlight, they have created a database of more than 3,000 fashion professionals of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds living in Italy, including designers, merchandisers, photographers and stylists, with the aim of dispelling the idea that various talents were not available in Italy.

But even marking the progress made in diversity in the industry, organizers said a racist incident at a four-star hotel in Milan targeting this year’s “Fab Five” underscored the work that remains to be done.

Ngonmo said she was checking in at the hotel with the five women when receptionists roughly rejected routine requests by paying guests, indicating they had no place there. She posted the incident on social media and then spoke to management, who apologized and fired the two workers responsible.

“They dehumanized us, taking away our humanity and treating us like animals. It’s really, really bad, ” Ngonmo said.

Jean said the incident “is proof that everything we do today, more than ever, must be done. It is a necessity. “


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