The Embassy of Italy in Pretoria, South Africa, in partnership with Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, Centro di Firenze per la Moda Italiana, SAFW (South African Fashion Week), Italian Trade Agency (ICE), Polimoda and Lineapelle, with the support of Nelson Mandela Forum Firenze launches the initiative “Fashion Bridges – I Ponti della Moda”. The project aims at laying the foundations of a sustainable, inclusive, strategic, long-term cooperation between the Italian and South African fashion industries.
The project is structured in three pillars.
The first one is Cradle of fashion (Culla della moda) which envisages an academic cooperation between some of the most prominent and more internationally renowned fashion schools and entities in Italy and in South Africa. SAFW and Polimoda have matched three of the most talented neo-graduates from several South African fashion schools with three of the most talented neo-graduates from Polimoda who will participate in an online training course. The young designers will be paired up and their teamwork will culminate in a joint capsule collection to be showcased in Milan, during the Milan Fashion Week in September 2021 and in Johannesburg during the South African Fashion Week in October 2021.
The second initiative is Young Lions (Giovani Leoni) that has the objective of promoting and expanding the market for young, but already established, Italian and South African fashion designers. Two emerging designers, one for each country, will be assisted in identifying business opportunities in South Africa and Italy and establishing a contact with local agents.
The third project Mining for fashion materials and tools (Alla ricerca di materiali e strumenti per la moda) will include round-table discussion and business-to-business meetings between South African and Italian companies operating in the fashion and textile industry. At the end of October in Johannesburg, the Embassy, with the support of the Italian Trade Agency in Johannesburg, is organizing a match-making event that will bring together producers and buyers of raw materials, fabrics, leather, textile machinery. The purpose is to strengthen the technical capital and supply chains of the fashion industries in both countries, with a special attention for quality, sustainability, and the concept of circular economy.
To give strength to the “Fashion Bridges” project, a virtual Visual Diary of the project has been created on the “Some Other Label” platform, run by Errica Iacopini, to showcase the stories behind each of the designers and their development and growth on and through the project. The dedicated website is:www.someotherlabel.com/fashion-bridges
The Logo of the initiative is the graphic representation of “Ponte Vecchio” in Florence, as a reference to Italy and in particular to Polimoda, with the traditional South African “shweshwe” fabric dating back to the 1800s, filling the bridge frame, as a reference to South Africa and its style.