Debut runway collection a concrete success for movement to promote diversity in Italian fashion

Nigeria-born designer Joy Meribe opened Milan Fashion Week on Wednesday with her debut runway collection, a concrete success for a movement to promote diversity in Italian fashion just a year after launching, the Associated Press’ Colleen Barry reports.

The Italian National Fashion Chamber tapped Meribe to open six days of womenswear previews for Spring-Summer 2022 after her inaugural collection for the “We are Made in Italy” initiative last year found commercial success.

“Beyond whatever video, proclamation or manifesto that we make, the real test is whether clients buy your products. Joy passed that exam,” said Italian-Haitian designer Stella Jean, who helped launch the initiative in the summer of 2020, asking the question, “Do Black Lives Matter in Italian Fashion?” inspired by the U.S. movement and following racists gaffes by major Italian fashion houses.

“It wouldn’t have been so quick, if there wasn’t an acceleration from the United States,” said Jean, who basked in the early success in the front row alongside Italy-based U.S.-born designer Edward Buchanan and Afro Fashion Week Milano founder Michelle Ngonmo.

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