Meet The New Wave Of Diverse Talent Shaking Up Milan Fashion Week


Fabiola Manirakiza, designer and founder of Frida Kiza


Fabiola Manirakiza’s brand, Frida Kiza, seeks to celebrate her homeland of Burundi and her home of Marche in central Italy, “unit[ing] these two worlds that are very different but the same”. Founded in 2016, Frida Kiza (an homage to Frida Kahlo and a shortening of her surname) represents all women, says Fabiola, with her current collection manifesting a loungewear lockdown experience into her signature vibrant palette. Passionate about supporting Italy, its manufacturing and its long-term legacy, “promoting Made in Italy and supporting young artists” is Manirakiza’s raison d’être. Already a favourite with the Italian A-list, her long-term goal is to take Frida Kiza global. “In five years’ time, I see the brand, and consequently me, all over the world.” © JON BRONXL PHOTOGRAPHERBY SCARLETT CONLON


Claudia Gisèle Ntsama, designer and founder of GISFAB

Growing up in a family of tailors in Cameroon and helping her aunts in their atelier, Claudia Gisèle Ntsama prevailed against financial odds to put herself through fashion studies. After moving to Italy to complete a fashion design degree at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna, she attended the Haute école des arts du Rhin in Strasbourg as a textile designer with the Erasmus project. The aesthetic of her brand GISFAB – which takes its name from an amalgamation of her first name and the word “fabrics” – was founded in 2016 and is inspired by contemporary art and Asian fashion. Ntsama cites Junya Watanabe and Yohji Yamamoto as her role models; the conceptual, other-worldly and abstract concepts are given a modern twist through her use of hemp as a luxurious fabric in her SS21 collection. © JON BRONXL PHOTOGRAPHER





Fabiola Manirakiza, designer and founder of Frida Kiza © JON BRONXL PHOTOGRAPHER

Fabiola Manirakiza’s brand, Frida Kiza, seeks to celebrate her homeland of Burundi and her home of Marche in central Italy, “unit[ing] these two worlds that are very different but the same”. Founded in 2016, Frida Kiza (an homage to Frida Kahlo and a shortening of her surname) represents all women, says Fabiola, with her current collection manifesting a loungewear lockdown experience into her signature vibrant palette. Passionate about supporting Italy, its manufacturing and its long-term legacy, “promoting Made in Italy and supporting young artists” is Manirakiza’s raison d’être. Already a favourite with the Italian A-list, her long-term goal is to take Frida Kiza global. “In five years’ time, I see the brand, and consequently me, all over the world.”


Joy Ijeoma Meribe, designer and founder of Modaf Designs


Joy Ijeoma Meribe’s contemporary brand, Modaf Designs, is a modern fusion of print and texture. Her spring/summer 2021 collection is the culmination of materials she had to hand during four months of intense lockdown in Italy and follows in the same vein; in her words, it’s a story of hope and the courage to dare to dream again after the lockdown. The 42-year-old Parma native grew up in Nigeria, where she says she struggled to find positive fashion designer role models. After moving to Reggio Emilia in 2003, she pursued an MA in International Business before working as a linguistic and cultural mediator and freelance business consultant. She decided it was her time to give fashion a go in 2017 and her brand today represents strength, tenacity and faith. “I would say inclusion, diversity and sustainability are the most pressing issues in the fashion industry right now,” she says, “and that is why I’m moving towards working with only sustainable materials and employing only ethical production processes.”  © JON BRONXL PHOTOGRAPHER

Karim Daoudi, designer and founder of Karim Daoudi

Born in Morocco and later relocating to San Mauro Pascoli, the 27-year-old footwear and accessories designer Karim Daoudi says the effect of lockdown was to increase his creativity. “Staying at home, I had the chance to observe the world [in a different light]”. He didn’t just want to create, he wanted to wait until the inspiration came to him, and judging by his fluorescent structures and the saturated colour palette of his spring/summer 2021, his stimuli found a spark. Daoudi studied at the Cercal shoe academy in San Mauro Pascoli, specialising in technical design and modelling, before he founded his brand in 2017. It wasn’t long before his functional-meets-fierce designs caught industry attention and later that year he won an award at CNA FederModa Roma. He describes his aesthetic as a fusion of “functionality, elegance and minimalism” and namechecks the creativity and elegance of fellow Italian footwear supremos Giuseppe Zanotti and Gianvito Rossi as inspiration.

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