Afro Fashion Association

To develop an ecosystem for African and Afro-descendent designers

Summary

Based in Italy and Cameroon is synergistic, volunteer-driven not-for-profit Afro Fashion Association promotes diversity and inclusion in fashion, design, art, and culture and advances Africa’s identity rooted in its creativity, culture and innovation. Its events and services provide an international platform to showcase and support the work of emerging African, Afro descent, and Afro-inspired designers.

History

Founded in 2015, by Michelle Ngonmo who holds a degree in Audiovisual and Multimedia Communication and a Master’s in Foreign Languages. After several internships abroad, including the Belgian Ministry of Culture, she returned to Milan to launch the Afro Fashion Association, where she continues to serve as Executive Director. With a database of around 1400 registered Afro designers, Afro Fashion Association has a wide network of fashion influencers,  fashion designers, and other industry professionals in Italy. Through its events, the association has promoted the work of about eighty fashion designers. Its collaborations with fashion universities in Africa puts them in contact with emerging talent whom it provides opportunities to engage with the fashion industry on an international stage. Overall, the associations aims to support emerging designers and elevate established fashion designers. Its multi-pronged approach to talent cultivation and support comprises fashion shows, trade fairs and exhibitions, buyer events, mentorship, and education. Through its flagship events, Afro Fashion Week and Afro Walks, the association has developed an ecosystem of equity for emerging and under-recognized African and Afro-descendent designers.

Vision

To support continental collaborations and consulting services including an association with the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana and others. And, provide a platform for direct international investment towards African fashion, beauty, and the arts.

Mission

Based in Italy and Cameroon, the Afro Fashion Association believes in the transformative potential of fashion, design, art, and culture as a means to build and support cross-cultural exchange, empowerment and sustainable economic development.

Services

In Milan, the association works on education and sensitivity training, examining representation and multiculturalism in society using fashion as a communication tool; generate audience and markets for Afro-owned products and services’ work on the empowerment of BIPOC companies in order to make them more aware of their value and counter the growing tokenism in society; and collaborate with universities in Italy and overseas to support BIPOC youth and activate scholarship and mentoring programs that will create viable post graduate placement opportunities for talent. In Cameroon, the association operates in the fields of art, food, fashion and design to contribute to the promotion of art and culture as a lever for local sustainable development. Its mission is to:
propose an innovative cultural offering, respect tradition and enhance art and culture as a sector of employment for young people and an engine for social and economic development. Lastly, to develop in young people the skills and professionalism relevant to their inclusion in the market of the visual and plastic arts in Cameroon by integrating traditional knowledge, technological innovation and digital culture.

References

https://www.condenast.com/news/afro-fashion-association-vogue-italia-launch-the-unseen-profiles
https://www.vogue.com/slideshow/afro-fashion-association
https://fashionunited.uk/news/business/afro-fashion-association-partners-with-trussardi-on-diversity-initiatives/2022071164026
https://ww.fashionnetwork.com/news/Trussardi-to-promote-inclusive-projects-with-afro-fashion-association,1422177.html