The SS 2022 collections were presented under the explosive title – “BEYOND MITUMBA – Unveiling the Unseen,” during last September’s edition. The title perfectly summed up the themes that were discussed during the meetings, talks and interviews that accompanied the fashion shows of the emerging designers selected by the Afro Fashion Association.
“Mitumba” is the term that encapsulates a widespread phenomenon in developing countries that consists of the reselling of second-hand clothes coming from wealthy countries. These masses of textile products alter the extremely delicate balance of African countries with an excess of material. As a result, textile landfills are formed, which create further problems related to environmental pollution. All this prevents a healthy development of the local fashion’s creativity and entrepreneurship, encouraging a survival economy as an end in itself. From the observation of this growing phenomenon, the 6th edition of Afro Fashion Week Milan decided to focus on recycling in all its aspects.
Textile upcycling was therefore the big protagonist of the fashion shows of new international designers who interpreted the theme through their SS22 collections. After the opening of Milan Fashion Week by Joy Meribe, an Italian-Nigerian designer belonging to the AFRO FASHION ASSOCIATION, five new designers, students from the LABA Academy of Fine Arts in Douala, Cameroon (the focus country of this edition) took to the catwalks over the following days as part of the “FAB FIVE BRIDGE BUILDERS INTERNATIONAL” project: DERRICK WANKI, MICHEL GREEN, SKY MODA, STEPHANDIBOTTY, and CINDY-MURIELLE TSAGUE.
This edition also continued with “FAB FIVE – WE ARE MADE IN ITALY,” an interesting initiative launched in February 2021 with the support of the Camera Nazionale della Moda (Italian National Fashion Chamber) and mentoring by Stella Jean and Edward Buchanan. The new talents presented in this edition were: NYNY RYKE GOUNGOU (prêt-à-porter), ROMY CALZADO CELDA (prêt-à-porter), ZINEB HAZIM (prêt-à-porter), JUDITH SAINT JERMAIN (footwear), and SHEETAL SHAH (prêt-à-porter).
Six other designers from various countries also graced the catwalks: PHANG DANG HOANG (Vietnam-Italy), BERNADETTE GOUBA (Burkina Faso-Italy), FRIDA KIZA (Burundi-Italy), KARIM DAOUDI (Morocco-Italy), AIRIN TRIBAL by Irene N. Eddie (Kenya-Italy), SK&MS Design by Souleymane Keita and Maria Santovito (Côte d’Ivoire-Italy).
The AFRO FASHION ASSOCIATION has been called upon to participate in numerous initiatives to support new creative talents who identify in their history and in their collections the cultural mix that will characterise the years to come. The movement developed by the AFRO FASHION ASSOCIATION in past editions has made it possible to create a network of young people coming from all continents, looking for a common non-profit platform, which allows them to enter the markets and showcase their talents.
The Association thus models a new approach to international creative collaboration, fostering cultural exchange and launching innovative fashion on the global stage. The project spans fashion, art, culture, tourism and international cooperation.