AFRO FASHION AT MODES
MODES PRESENTS THE WORK OF 12 AFRO FASHION’S NEW DESIGNERS DURING FASHION WEEK
Milan, 22 February 2023 – MODES renews its commitment to showcasing new talent by teaming up with the Afro Fashion Association for the women’s Autumn-Winter 2023 Milan Fashion Week. With the support of Vogue Italia, the work of 12 designers has been presented at the retailer’s Milan flagship, each with a dedicated window display created to express their unique vision.
Inherent in its DNA, MODES cherishes the free expression of creativity, breaking down geographical and social barriers. As an international multi-brand player, MODES aims to discover a new generation of talents, who can create a dialogue between people and cultures through their work, exalting the value of diversity.
Afro Fashion Association is a non-profit organization, founded in 2015 by Michelle F. Ngomno, which deeply believes in the transformative power of fashion, design, art and culture as a means of intercultural exchange, empowerment and sustainable economic development.
Akilah Stewart, Claudia Gisele Ntsama, Eileen Akbaraly, Ga Uen Kim, Joy Meribe, Karim Daoudi, Mokodu Fall, Neha Poorswani, Paul Roger Tanonkou, Phan Dang Hoang, Romy Calzado and Zineb Hazim: across clothing, footwear and accessories, the BIPOC designers supported by Afro Fashion Association embody the richness and creativity of the contemporary scene thanks to their diversity of their perspectives and backgrounds.
“From the very beginning, the association has worked to promote the talent of BIPOC designers and give them an opportunity to make a name for themselves with Italian companies and manufacturers. Today, this collaboration with MODES opens a new chapter, one that creates a solid bridge with commercial distributors. This is instrumental to the growth of the designers we have selected over the years as their collections get introduced to the market and public.”
Michelle F. Ngomno, President at Afro Fashion Association
“MODES has a duty to provide a platform to the new voices that infuse Italian creativity with the kind of diversity that makes it so unique and strong.”
Aldo Carpinteri, MODES Founder & CEO
A launch event was held on 22 February from 7pm to 10pm at the Piazza Risorgimento store as part of the official Camera della Moda calendar, with a DJ set by sisters Polly & Pamy. The window installations will be displayed until 7 March.
Luxury sustainable fashion powerhouse, FATRA, is an expert in creative waste design. The company’s chief creator, Akilah Stewart has used fashion as a catalyst for social and environmental activism for upward of 10 years.
Designer, product developer, and educator, Akilah has led workshops throughout the world with the goal of reducing textile and single-use plastic waste.
FATRA is pioneering the use of alternative materials and closed-loop design systems.
Fatra, the Haitian Creole word for “trash”, is a global leader in the sustainable fashion movement and continues to challenge mainstream ideas while fostering an evolution of radical elegance and eclectic statement pieces.
CLAUDIA GISÈLE NTSAMA
Born in Cameroon Claudia Gisele Ntsama studied fashion in her homeland and moved to Italy to attend the Fashion Design course at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna.
After a three-year degree in fashion design, she continued with the specialist course and during the fifth year with the ERASMUS project she attended the “Haute ecole des arts du Rhin" in Strasbourg as a textile designer.
During her studies in Italy, Claudia kept doing the humblest jobs in order to afford for herself the insights that have always fascinated her in the textile world.
Her style is inspired by the world of contemporary art and Asian fashion (Watanabe and Yamamoto are her favorite designers).
She Ioves designing fabrics for clothing and fashion in general.
EILEEN AKBARALY / MADE FOR A WOMAN
Italian-Indian designer and entrepreneur, Eileen Akbaraly always knew that she would find a way to combine her two greatest passions – fashion and sustainability – in a way that would make a lasting impact on her home of Madagascar. After working with several humanitarian organizations and completing her studies in Fashion Business and Global Communications, she founded Made For A Woman in 2019, the first women-led and women-centered sustainable fashion brand in Madagascar.
Eileen’s goal is to lead by example, weaving a more sustainable and socially responsible future for fashion. Her combination of dedication to sustainability and beautiful design has caught industry attention and garnered product collaborations with international luxury brands, such as Armani – for whom we created a one-of-a-kind tribute piece which debuted on the runway during Milan Fashion Week in September 2022 – and Chloé, with whom we are developing a capsule collection that is scheduled to launch in Spring 2023.
Her sustainable and scalable business model has also gained attention from industry leaders, garnering her recognition as a finalist for the Human Rights Award at the CNMI Sustainability Awards in 2022, Best Commitment to Sustainability by the Better World Forum in Cannes, the Green Night Award for Sustainability at Green Night in Switzerland 2020, amongst others.
GA UEN KIM
Villain was created supporting women and who identify as one to express as who they are. Sexy but with "charismatic wit". Villain is a sports-aesthetic wear brand. Starting from an imagianation where villains of 90's cartoons are going for evening cocktail party. Villain started sales in a pop-up store 5 Way Concept Store channeling a page in Cosmopolitan Italy.
We don't stop at having gracious look but start fom there to use material that are sustainable (ex. oak tree leather that has antibacterial effect).
Kim, the founder graduated from Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti with score of 110/110. Internship in Mantero Seta for CHANEL cruise collection. Having worked as part time performer and campaign model for Patrizia Pepe and Uniqlo Korea, she keeps her brand going with its unique DNA.
Moving its head office from Milan to Seoul, WWWVILLAIN is participating in many campaigns of kpop artists like Aespa and G Idle, Sumin and featuring her work in VOGUE KOREA.
Back to Milan she is working on collab with American artist like Princess Golum, and European musicians like Chadia Rodiriguez and Oriana sabatini. We are supplying stockage to a showroom in Berlin. (ISLABERLIN/Linienstraße 114, 10115 Berlin , Germany), online We Are Popseekle in Italy.
Founded in 2017, The Joy Meribe brand is a product of the background and experiences of the founder, Joy Meribe, and her appetite for eclectic and sophisticated taste.
Born in Nigeria, Joy has been living in Italy since 2003. In addition to her bachelor’s degree in Foreign Languages and Literature, Joy holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in International Business Studies in Reggio Emilia, Italy.
In 2016, she enrolled in a fashion school in Italy to hone her skills and learn the rudiments of Italian high fashion. Thanks to this rich and varied background, she has successfully worked as a cultural/Linguistic Mediator, Business Consultant, and Fashion Blogger. These experiences have stimulated her creativity and culminated in a fusion of styles that seem to trace the stages of her life.’ Joy defines her style as “Afropolitan chic Made in Italy. The strong personality of the designer comes to the surface with a balanced mix of stylistic and cultural influences. In just a few years after founding the Joy Meribe brand, it was able to emerge in a complex and difficult context like the one in the fashion world, succeeding in bringing it to the prestigious Milan Fashion Week in September 2020 where it was presented and acclaimed successfully.
The collections which are entirely produced in Italy are constantly updated with new items and accessories ready to complete outfits in full compliance with the brand’s philosophy made up of love for details, refinements and ethical production.
Karim Daoudi is a young designer of women's shoes with an elegant and extremely feminine attitude. He began his journey as an apprentice at the age of 17 and became passionate about the world of footwear.
He therefore undertakes various courses that will lead him to further specialize his skills, and to win the prestigious Fashion Young Stylists CNA Federmoda Rome competition in 2017.
In the same year he participates in the exclusive event "The One Milano", and subsequently arrives at "Milano Unica" with the style office of the Cercal School, for the production and design of samples.
In 2019 he participates in the "Fashion Graduate Italia" fashion show and in 2021 he stands out among the names of the Monte-Carlo Fashion Week, where Bianca Balti parades with his fabulous creations.
His brand, Karim Daoudi-Made in Italy is distinguished by the care of the finishes and the elegance of the various collections, where it cleverly combines practicality of use with an unmistakable aesthetic taste.
Mokodu Fall, born in 1975, is a self-taught Senegalese contemporary art painter and stylist. He practiced his art in his country in the early 1990s as a political cartoonist for the newspaper Afrique Économique and Le Débat.
In 1996 he moved to Italy where he continues as a painter.
Mokodu Fall specializes in figurative painting and his work reflects people who have contributed to the development of African culture, peace and urban cultures.
His art in general is centered on a representation of the African continent through its heroes, its animals and its atypical landscape.
He creates very colorful scenes where we find these characterizing elements belonging to Africa.
Everything he does in the fashion world is a continuation of his artwork.
Neha Poorswani is a Fashion Designer and Stylist based in Milan, Italy. Born in India on the 4th of July 1990. Neha studied Fashion Design at FIMD in Los Angeles and later on graduated in Fashion Styling from Istituto Marangoni in Milan, Italy. In 2018 she started her own line of ethically made artisanal and personalized shoes ‘Runway Reinvented’. Later introduced the concept of Made in Italy to India. Neha also designed the shoes for Designer Manish Arora’s SS20 Paris Fashion Week show.
Neha was very creative. Growing up around strict Indian parents who wanted her to become a doctor or engineer but Fashion was always her calling; it was her escape. The only way she could express herself and the only way she felt accepted. She couldn’t draw but she had a great vision for colors, design, and aesthetics. She grew up around fabrics, very colorful, bright, and bold materials. She cared more about how the materials and fabrics draped, fell, and covered the body.
“My vision is whimsical, kitsch, romantic, and fun. I want this to reflect in my work. I want to tell stories, fall in love, and always be inspired”
PAUL ROGER TANONKOU / ZENAM
Paul Roger Tanonkou was born in Cameroon from a family with a strong artistic vocation. The father is a teacher, fond of photography. The mother is a seamstress, she teaches the art of sewing to young women about to get married. The seed of the passion for beauty, already grafted in Paul Roger, soon turns into a luxuriant plant.
Meanwhile, he graduated in computer science at University of Douala (Cameroon), leaving his fashion vocation confined to amateur fields. He customized t-shirts and pants for friends, give style suggestions.
Paul Roger TANONKOU draws on the expressive force of his continent and dissolves it on the sheet of the metropolitan code. With the ability to lighten, to instill irony, to play in a new way with archetypes that have entered collective aesthetic iconography.
Her official debut in the world of fashion is when Paul Roger decides in 2011 to create a small capsule with a group of women in Cameroon. 11 looks, which the following season grow to become a collection, created this time by women in Mali. But Paul Roger soon felt the need for an authentic made in Italy; hence the liaison with the International Academy of Fashion of San Giuseppe Vesuviano (Naples), first of all, working with students.
The debut event is at Pitti Uomo in Florence in January 2016, then at the White show in Milan in June and the fashion show at the Louvre museum in Paris.
Paul Roger TANONKOU with his brand ZENAM has set himself this goal as a mission: to develop products steeped in tradition, thanks to the use of traditional African iconography but interpreted in a playful and unconventional way, mixed together, on glamorous garments for the everyone's taste.
The harmonious coexistence of this heterogeneous iconography on garments is a metaphor for how the coexistence between different cultures can joyfully exist in other contexts as well.
Zenam, which in Bamileke dialect means "ray of sunshine", wants to bring new light, new clarity with respect to the African identity.
Through each capsule, Paul Roger tells a piece of Africa using symbols dear to him mixed with the melting pot of his cultural background.
PHAN DANG HOANG
My name is PHAN DANG HOANG. I’m a fashion designer who started out as a painter with divine portraits, soon asserted my talent and created public attention at the age of 15. I always kept in mind " The essence of a design is created by skillful hands, a creative mind and a soul fullfilled with love for fashion”.
My breakthrough came from the Graduate collection from the University of Fine Arts Nouva Accademia Di Belle Arti (NABA) in Italy, "Quintessence" that was selected to showcase at Afro Fashion Week Milan (AFWM), and "La Peinture" ( Inside Vietnam project) was inspired by Vietnamese culture. With enthusiasm and constant effort to create through pieces of memories.
Following the achieved achievements, I chose for myself a fresh start when launching the brand PHAN DANG HOANG in 2022 during Milan Fashion Week Spring Summer 2023 with the desire to bring fashion products that balance the concept of art and high applicability.
PHAN DANG HOANG aspires to become an accessible high-fashion brand, with recognizable and ubiquitous products that attract young, knowledgeable GenZ and Millenial customers, love to explore fashion through technology, crave distinct tastes and seek out brands that truly reflect their culture and identity.
Romy Calzado is a Cuban native fashion and textile designer, from Avana. At the age of four she moved to Italy with her family, between Pavia and Udine, where she attended School of Art. Then she specialized in Fashion Design and CAD Modelling at Istituto di Moda Burgo in Milan. She has also developed a passion for ethnic prints through work experience at Etro S.p.a, taste for classic elegance through an internship at Musani S.r.l and several remote collaboration including a menswear label.
Thanks to her work experiences, she became an enthusiastic fashion teacher of Fashion School Monza, with high aspirations for students, committed to support them to realize their learning objectives.
In September 2020 she met Michelle Francine Gnomo, talent scout and founder of Afrofashion that chose Romy for the second edition of FAB 5 "We are Made in Italy", a project sponsored by National Chamber of Italian Fashion, which aims to support emerging BIPOC designers for two seasons.
Her first spring / summer 2022 collection called "Unlabeled" during Fashion Week was successful thanks to the garments made of antiviral and antibacterial graphene denim, in particular the chemisier Naomi 1.5, chosen by top model Naomi Campbell for Fashion Week's events.
Romy launched her brand to express creativity, admitted feeling like an artist who can "express my feelings and emotions playing with fashion, using different silhouette and experimenting new effects".
Her goal is debunk the misconception that a caribbean designer should always tap into florals and prints, but can keep the colors and intensity of her birthplace mixing them with the charm of western aesthetic.
Romy believe in the transformative potential of fashion, design, art, and culture as a means for cross-cultural exchange, empowerment, and sustainable economic development.
Zineb Hazim, born in Morocco and raised in Italy. She acquired her passion for fashion at the age of 12 when she decided to start wearing the hijab in a completely different way from how others used to wear it.
She begins her studies at a fashion institute, after 5 years she obtains her high school diploma and then enrolls at the Burgo Institute in Milan which allows her to acquire more experience in the sector.
To broaden her skills, she started working for herself, putting everything she studied into work. In her creations she uses different fabrics to make each garment she makes special.
In September 2021 she became one of the Fab Five (WAMI-Collective in partnership with CNMI) who allowed to make her voice reach the whole world that she wants to fight the prejudice against Muslim women wearing HIJAB and show the whole world that Muslim women can be like all "BUSINESSWOMAN".
A big dreamer and a hard worker, Zineb is now exploring new possibilities and opportunities for her brand.