At one of the fashion shows in Florence’s Pitti Immagine Uomo schedule last week, there was some very meaningful casting behind the model roster.Three of the models on the Generation Africa catwalk were asylum seekers from Mali and Gambia. Asylum seekers are refugees whose refugee claim status hasn’t yet been fully evaluated.
The show, organized by the ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative and Fondazione Pitti Discovery, showcased the fall 2016 collections of four African labels: Lukhanyo Mdingi x Nicholas Coutts, AKJP, Ikiré Jones, and U.mi-1.The models’ identities cannot be disclosed due to the sensitive, precarious status of being an asylum seeker. According to a press release from Lai-momo, an Italian organization that works with migrants, the models are 19-to-27 years old with vocational backgrounds that vary from farming and construction work to waiting tables.
Prior to their paid modeling debuts at Pitti, the three men lived in Bologna, Italy, since May while going through the asylum application process.It’s the first time that Ethical Fashion Initiative has featured asylum-seekers on the runway.
“We wanted to offer a different view of the problem of asylum seekers in Europe today and a practical solution to address it,” Ethical Fashion Initiative founder Simone Cipriani told Refinery29.
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