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Generation Africa is the chance to open a new window on one of today‘s most creative scenes and to give emerging fashion designers the opportunity to have a spotlight, both in terms of communication and real business opportunities. The collaboration with ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative combines these goals with a sensitivity to great social issues, and helps provide answers. 

Lapo Cianchi, Head of Special Projects - Pitti Imagine

Following the great success of the ITC's Ethical Fashion Initiative's collaboration with Pitti Imagine last year, the UN flagship programme, which connects marginalised artisans to the global fashion sector, is once again introducing four talents from Africa at the prestigious Florence menswear event this year.

Generation Africa will open its doors as a special event alongside the 89th edition of Pitti Uomo from tomorrow 12/1, until this Thursday 14/1 at the Dogana in Via Valfonda.

Once again there's an interesting mix of participants from different corners of the continent with one goal in common: to represent Africa's creative talent outside its borders and support the fashion industry and artisans inside its borders.

In anticipation of this event, let's have a look at the SS16 collection of each brands, and what inspired their creative directors' design process for these collections in particular or in general.

South Africa

Jody Paulsen and Keith Henning 

For our SS16 collection lookbook, we took inspiration from Lucinda Childs’ ballet Dance. Sol Le Witt’s use of black and white imagery in the video creates strong graphic imagery and motifs, which speak to our collection’s applique and deconstruction. We felt that shooting in black and white with photographer Nico Krinjo will be a new direction for us as it puts the focus back on cut and silhouettes rather than prints. The lookbook symbolises strength in movement too which speaks to our initial minimalist ethos which was rooted in sportswear that shifts easily from day to night.

Jody Paulsen

Ikiré Jones

Walé Oyéjidé 

We make clothing for adventurous people. It is a common-enough goal, but one rarely accomplished with elegance.  We are proud of what we do, because none of it is done in the shadows. Whereas, the industry norm calls for dungeon-like conditions to house faceless workers who have been left with little choice but to accept subservient wages while shovelling mediocre products out the door, our textiles are designed with our daughters playing at our feet. Our sport coats are tailored while our mothers look-on and fuss on the rare occasion that we miss a detail. Our scarves are concocted while our wives remind us that not missing dinner with family is more important than almost everything else.

Walé Oyéjidé and Sam Hubler


Gozi Ochonogor
U.Mi-1 presents a new type of African menswear fashion, an Ode to Eyo*: the costumed dancers. The U.Mi-1 SS16 collection is a celebration of the Eyo, masquerades that come out during the Lagos Nigerian festival to escort the soul of a departed Lagos King or Chief and to usher in a new king. The collection mirrors the activity and fluidity of the costumed dancers, linen and cotton fabrics are textured and the silhouette is looser, with patterned chiffon hanging loosely on jackets or layered on trousers. Like the masquerades, the wearer seems wrapped in layers of fabric and there is playfulness to the hues of blue, green and light grey.

Nicholas Coutts and Lukhanyo Mdingi 

South African designers Lukhanyo Mdingi and Nicholas Coutts, have collaborated on an AW collection for this year. Both have made a name for themselves in their own right for a while now. Mdingi for his minimalist, yet striking style, evident from his acclaimed SS16 collection shown below, while Coutts' love for chunky, yet sophisticated handwoven fabrics and knits, which include everything from fine local merino to recycled plastic, celebrating the beauty of true craftsmanship.

Lukhanyo Mdingi SS16

Nicholas Coutts AW15 (photo via 10and5.com)

All images courtesy of ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative unless stated otherwise.

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