Generation Africa: Ethical Fashion Initiative at Pitti Uomo 89

International Trade Centre’s Ethical Fashion Initiative has announced its second collaboration with Pitti Immagine at the upcoming 89th edition of Pitti Uomo in January 2016 like the one I covered here.

As part of the Fondazione Pitti Discovery’s Guest Nation Project, the Ethical Fashion Initiative brings four talented menswear designers from the African continent to Florence, Italy this winter. The selected designers are AKJP, Ikiré Jones, Lukhanyo Mdingi x Nicholas Coutts and U.Mi-1.

A runway show scheduled for Thursday, 14 January at the Dogana (Via Valfonda) will feature the four brands already known on the international market that present different facets of the African continent and that privilege manufacturing in their home countries. AKJP, Ikiré Jones, Lukhanyo Mdinigi x Nicholas Coutts and U.Mi-1 will present their Autumn/Winter 2016-17 men’s collections.

Their participation at Pitti Uomo 89 marks ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative and Pitti Immagine’s joint effort to promote creativity from Africa and encourage the manufacturing of fashion garments & goods on the African continent.

See some of their past works:

AKJP // Keith Henning & Jody Paulsen from South Africa


AKJP (Adriaan Kuiters + Jody Paulsen) is a menswear and womenswear brand founded by South African designer duo, Keith Henning and Jody Paulsen. AKJP‘s signature is its artful contemporary twist on classic and utilitarian menswear. The development of strong prints and sports-inspired motifs for each collection has become core to AKJP. AKJP uses layering, boxy silhouettes and asymmetrical detailing as a signature styling feature. AKJP has been recognised as one of South Africa’s most innovative brands, bringing contemporary and cool to the South African fashion landscape. In 2015, AKJP was one of the finalists at Vogue Italia’s Who Is On Next? Dubai.


IKIRÉ JONES // Walé Oyéjidé from USA & Nigeria

Ikire Jones AW15 2 Ikire Jones AW15 3 Ikire Jones AW15 1

Ikiré Jones (pronounced “E-kee-rae Jones”) is a menswear company that marries African aesthetics with classic art from all over the world. Each of the brand’s pieces tells a contemporary story by using historical artwork as a medium for modern expression. With every collection, the brand places a strong emphasis on societal issues that affect immigrant and transient populations across the globe. Importantly, Ikiré Jones seeks to properly introduce modern African culture to the world. Through clothing, Ikiré Jones seeks to weave together a tighter global community. The brand’s tailoring is done in the United States, and its accessories are printed and hand-rolled in Macclesfield, United Kingdom.

LUKHANYO MDINGI x NICHOLAS COUTTS // Lukhanyo Mdingi & Nicholas Coutts from South Africa

Lukhanyo Mdingi SS16 3 Lukhanyo Mdingi SS16 1 Lukhanyo Mdingi SS16 2

South African designers Lukhanyo Mdingi and Nicholas Coutts collaborate on this Autumn/Winter 2016-17 collection to illuminate each other’s aesthetics. The design partnership combines Mdingi’s minimalist approach with Coutts’ distinctive signature weaving style. Together, the designers create a menswear collection that embodies strength, empowerment and contemporary sophistication.

Lukhanyo Mdingi interprets minimal aesthetics with his clothing, finding the balance between line, form and texture. Mdingi creates minimal looks that are distinct and powerful, with a flare of contemporary elegance and sophistication. Nicholas Coutts’ signature is creating garments that are textured and uses fabrication to create a pleasing contrasting visual. Influenced by the Arts & Crafts movement, Coutts specialises in using handwoven fabrics and hand knitted items.

U.Mi-1 // Gozi Ochonogor from Nigeria & UK

Takanori Okuwaki Takanori Okuwaki AW15 2 Takanori Okuwaki AW15

U.Mi-1 (pronounced is a contemporary brand for the modern cool man. It tells a different side of the African fashion story with collections inspired by Nigerian culture, architecture and art. Headed by Nigerian designer Gozi Ochonogor who calls London, Tokyo and Lagos her homes, U.Mi-1 collections are a blend of British tailoring aesthetic with the hallmark of Japanese artisanship and African spirit, delivering innovative designs and quality. Best described as tailoring with a twist, U.Mi-1 focuses on style, comfort and quality with interesting detailing that the wearer discovers anew.


For more information about the Ethical Fashion Initiative;








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