Made in Italy fashion like we’ve never seen it before, diverse and inclusive, took the stage at Milan Fashion Week. Five women, five talents of Italian fashion, from five different countries – Cuba, Haiti, Togo, India, Morocco – are the protagonists of Fab Five – We are made in Italy.
Sheetal Shah, Nyny Ryke Goungou, Romy Calzado Celda, Zineb Hazim and Judith Saint Germain are the five BIPOC designers based in Italy who kicked off Milan Fashion Week this year representing four different continents.
The event took place on September 22, through a virtual track, a video titled “Fab Five, non siamo una moda ”, (Fab Five, we are not just a trend) created by Antonio Dikele di Stefano, Italian-Angolan writer and director of the Netflix series Zero. The video was first shown at the Permanent Museum in Milan, with Edward Enninful, editor-in-chief of British Vogue and European editorial director of Vogue, as the host, someone who has been constantly engaged in seeking out and bringing to light underappreciated talent, in the name of diversity, inclusion and equality.
Fab Five – We are made in Italy is just one of many projects led by the WAMI team, founded in 2020 by designers Stella Jean (the only black member of Camera della Moda Italiana) and Edward Buchanan, and by Michelle Francine Ngonmo, founder of the Afro Fashion Association, a non-profit association created in 2015.
For the first time in the history of Italian fashion Fab Five gives voice to the talents of BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) who have never had the opportunity to obtain real support from major Italian brands and have thus remained invisible in the world of Made in Italy. And while at a global level, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, something has changed, and many creatives are well received in other countries, in Italy there is still a lot to do.
WAMI was created with a specific objective: to fight for concrete inclusion, and not just theoretical, by contrasting all types of racism and by working for a real recognition of the contribution that the creativity of BIPOC can make to fashion. A multifaceted project which, thanks to the scouting activity carried out by Michelle Francine Ngonmo over the years, has made it possible to create a real database of Afro-descendant talents. We are made in Italy is, in a nutshell, the answer to the question asked by many black designers: does black life count in Italian fashion?