UniCredit S.p.A. Partners Contacts My Pitti
Exclusive: the African designers selected by the Ethical Fashion Initiative
Editorial
Edition 99
02.02.2021
Margaux Wong, JIAMINI, Lukhanyo Mdingi and WUMAN.

“Africa has a wealth of talent and creativity yet to be discovered. Artisans, know-how and skills, all in one place and are currently underrepresented in the global fashion community," says Simone Cipriani, Head and Founder of the Ethical Fashion Initiative (International Trade Centre).

For Pitti Uomo 99, in a world exclusive, the Ethical Fashion Initiative (EFI) is launching the collections of four of the most interesting talents from the African creative scene. JIAMINI, Lukhanyo Mdingi, Margaux Wong, and WUMAN have been selected among hundreds of applicants from all over the continent to take part in the first edition of its Accelerator Programme."

After receiving mentoring and business support from a panel of experts, including United Arrows’ Hirofumi Kurino, Ethical Fashion Initiative’s Susi Billingsley and activist and actress Dakore Egbuson-Akande, the four brands are participating in Pitti Uomo 99 and debut with a special digital presentation on Pitti Connect, culminating with the online release of their fashion shows on February 9, 2021.
 
For some time now, we have been following and supporting the work done by the Ethical Fashion Initiative, which helps young talents and promising brands not only with their creative development but especially with creating a business model that would make them strong, independent, and ready to enter the market at their best

— Lapo Cianchi, Director of Communication and Special events at Pitti Immagine

JIAMINI (Nairobi, Kenya)
JIAMINI is a family-run fashion accessories brand  founded in 2016 and whose name means ‘believe in yourself’ in Swahili. Jiamini’s one of a kind pieces are inspired by the past, designed for the present, and projected into the future, produced by skilled female artisans with the mission of designing an international wardrobe for today's global woman. Inspired by traditional techniques and craftsmanship, the brand works to help local communities rise above poverty through economic empowerment while promoting sustainable development solutions. Made in Kenya by women for women.

Each day I piece together strings of beads that tell not just my story, but that of the world I live in today.
 
Watch the Fashion Show
LUKHANYO MDINGI (Cape Town, South Africa)
Since its inception in 2015, the label has attracted the attention of Vogue Italia, Nataal and iD, and participated in major events such as The British Fashion Council: International Fashion Showcase, Pitti Immagine Uomo, and the CFDA: New York Fashion Week. Adhering to a mindful approach to design the label collaborates with select artisans that source & create unique textiles, allowing all those involved to understand the essence of each step of the design process. Lukhanyo Mdingi's goal is to celebrate authentic narratives, according to a considered, sincere and mindful approach to design approach to design that allows achieving excellence and a timeless sensibility that is transcendent. 

We’re constantly looking at the essentials and refining each style, creating a certain kind of desirability and elegance has become part of the practice of creating a timeless wardrobe.
 
Watch the Fashion Show
MARGAUX WONG (Bujumbura, Burundi)
Sustainable accessories brand Margaux Wong, founded by Guyanese/Burundian Margaux Rusita, specializes in the extraordinary transformation of rare cow horn and brass into luxurious, beautiful wearable art. Rusita has been passionately working as an ethically driven designer for more than 18 years, creating designs heavily influenced by her daily personal experiences and using traditional techniques. Her commitment to sustainability continues to inspire hundreds of young people, whom she has mentored over the past decade in Burundi.

I aspire to make a lasting impact across the globe, as I pursue my mission to connect people through ART, LOVE and PASSION.”
 
Watch the Fashion Show
WUMAN (Lagos, Nigeria)
WUMAN is a contemporary womenswear/ menswear brand founded by Ekwerike Chukwuma in 2013, as a positive agent for the change and enhancement of African heritage. Inspired by female anatomy, which Chukwuma fell in love with during his medical school days, his art/fashion is a direct expression of his thoughts on tradition, abstraction, architecture, geometry and affinities, which is reflected in visually appealing and culturally stimulating, able to further highlight the African cultural heritage. Each look even includes its own literature, in the form of a story or poem, which Chukwuma Ekwerike calls “GARMENTRATURE”.

I see fashion and art to exist in a sort of feto-maternal relationship and I draw from this to create garments that are not just visually appealing but also culturally stimulating, contemporary and further highlight my African heritage.
 
Watch the Fashion Show