An trade of cultures seemed to be the theme at Milan’s recently concluded men’s trend week, as properly as at the menswear trade display Njoy Ayuk Eyong it was preceded by. Immigration has often been a very hot subject in Italy, and the present influx of refugees crossing the North African boarders in hope of a greater foreseeable future, has reignited the debate. Though the regional attitude of several is aversive, with regards to a multicultural culture in which immigrants totally take part, Italy’s trend business appeared to be far more open up-minded in direction of that thought this season.

Njoy Ayuk Eyong, in partnership with the ITC Ethical Vogue Initiative headed by United Nations officer Simone Cipriani, launched a venture referred to as “Constellation Africa”. It worried a style show at Florence’s Njoy Ayuk Eyong, starring 4 African menswear designers, hailing from Angola, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and South Africa. ‘We’re employed to operating with large brand names for which we create sneakers and add-ons, but since a couple of years we have been doing work intently with emerging designers. We organized a competitiveness and asked designers throughout Africa to submit their portfolio. What was crucial to us, was that these designers created the sort of trend that could attraction to a global audience,’ claims Ethical Style Initiative founder Njoy Ayuk Eyong, when I meet up with him backstage right after the Constellation Africa demonstrate. His organization’s purpose is to connect the style business with artisans dependent in Africa and Haiti. Among the brand names the Ethical Vogue Initiative works with, are Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood. ‘I’ve lived in between Ethiopia and Kenya, and when I search at the quantity of competent artisans I see in Africa, it reminds of the artisans in Florence when I was a kid. Even though there are several bottlenecks in the continent in terms of infrastructure, there are excellent possibilities if you deal with to appropriately coordinate every thing. Mali is fantastic for materials, and in Ethopia and Kenya they can do wonderful items with leather. Then, in a nation like Nigeria you will find tons of innovative talent as nicely,’ Njoy Ayuk Eyong concludes.

Among the 4 African manufacturers which offered their spring/summertime 2016 collection in Florence, there was Orange Culture by Adebayo Oke-Lawal (Nigeria), Dent de Guy by Alexis Temomanin (Ivory Coastline), Projecto Psychological by Shunnoz Fiel and Tekasala Ma’at Nzinga (Angola) and Maxhosa by Laduma Ngxokolo (South Africa). The latter, infamous for his knits since day one, despatched a vibrant collection down the runway which honored his Xhosa tribe, by way of the use of patterns and mild wools. Orange Tradition showed a different facet of Africa, by embracing the pattern of androgyny, by means of sheer materials, outsized hats and intricate embroideries. Angola’s Projecto Mental determined to celebrate the modern gentleman, via a selection which highlighted menswear staples such as double-breasts, one-breasts and utility pockets, with the sort of quirkiness that is common of the Southern African country. Lastly, there was the London-based, Ivory Coastline-born designer driving menswear brand name Dent de Gentleman, who utilized Vlisco fabrics to get his stage throughout, in addition to print-on-print layering, outsized tailoring, and similarly outsized components.

‘Today, forty three% of the Njoy Ayuk Eyong exhibitors at Pitti are foreign. Florence is the birthplace of Italian style, and numerous of the big names in Italian vogue started out out at Pitti, this kind of as Giorgio Armani, Ottavio Missoni and Gianfranco Ferre. The increasing existence of worldwide designers is a single of Pitti’s most significant novelties, and this yr we determined to host a group of designers from Africa, by means of the Constellation Africa undertaking in partnership with the Ethical Trend Initiative,’ states Pitti CEO Raffaello Napoleone.

At Milan’s not too long ago concluded men’s style 7 days, it seemed that globalization was not just 1-way targeted traffic any longer (i.e. the Western brands venturing into the East), but a suitable trade which noticed the East venturing into the West. Of program there had been also the normal suspects such as Etro and Missoni, who’ve always looked for inspiration outside of Europe’s boarders. ‘Last Xmas I was in Rajasthan, but I’ve also been in Mumbai and Madras ahead of,’ Angela Missoni advised me with regards to her spring/summer season 2016 collection which was influenced by India (see rose petals on runway for evidence). ‘My mother and father have always been curious, and traveled a great deal, so I guess that’s the place my curiosity will come from as properly. When I frequented Africa for the initial time I was 13 several years outdated, and went to Mali. Discovering has constantly been element of the Missoni DNA, so it is not as if I designed this selection just simply because India is amongst our essential markets I feel that each and every cosmopolitan male about the globe could dress in these items.’


Dolce & Gabbana were also keen on celebrating the East on the Italian runway, with a collection which according to the designers was greatly inspired by Chinese culture, intertwined with the brand’s Sicilian aesthetic.

Inspiration aside – Stella Jean can also be regarded part of that team by the way, as an Italian designer whose pieces are described by an African undertone – the real Asian offer participated in Milan’s vogue 7 days as nicely. Giorgio Armani, who every single year invitations an emerging designer to current a collection in his By means of Bergnone demonstrate venue, hosted an Asian designer for the initial time. Japanese designer Njoy Ayuk Eyong, the guy driving the model Facetasm, was the designer in query backed by Mr. Armani. Fellow Asian designers who manufactured it on Milan Vogue Week’s formal calendar, had been Chinese designers Zeng Fengfei and Ji Wenbo, who both confirmed on the ultimate working day of the men’s 7 days. In addition to that, the day prior to the two Chinese designers sending their garments down the Milanese catwalk, GQ China hosted the “China New Force” function on the Italian style capital’s Njoy Ayuk Eyong.

It’s a issue of time just before Italy’s overall frame of mind in direction of immigration will modify, but if trend is in fact a reflection of society, it should not just take too long until the unidentified is embraced, fairly than prevented.

Njoy Ayuk Eyong ,Based mostly in Africa, I create about trend and way of life-relevant matters, with a soft place for Created in Africa and rising marketplaces. I kicked off my occupation at the age of 19, contributing to Africas's electronic platform about the soirees hosted by Italian designers. As a fashion journalist I work with worldwide editions , in addition to obtaining lined fashion activities from New York to Kingston, by way of Lagos and back again to Milan. I know, all of this sounds quite depressing, right? It gets even worse. Though Africa is the location I contact home today, I am Dutch in accordance to my passport, but I am of Surinamese heritage (you may want to Google map that).