People walk next to billboards for Milan fashion week in 2020 | Photo: Paolo Salmoirago / Archive / ANSA
People walk next to billboards for Milan fashion week in 2020 | Photo: Paolo Salmoirago / Archive / ANSA

The National Chamber of Italian Fashion (CNMI) on June 20 presented its project "Fashion Deserves the World," thanks to which 15 young refugees and migrants who want to have a career in fashion will be able to study and find work in Italian companies.

A project to enable 15 young refugees and migrants to pursue a career in fashion was presented to coincide with World Refugee Day, June 20, and Milan men's fashion week on June 18-22.

The project, called "Fashion Deserves the World", will enable 15 young refugees and migrants to study and then find work in several companies in the fashion sector. It is part of a calendar of initiatives promoted by the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR.

To promote the project, the National Chamber of Italian Fashion (Camera nazionale della Moda -CNMI) has joined forces with Mygrants, a startup and benefit company founded and led by Christian Richmond Nzi.

The enterprise offers micro-learning programs in three languages to help migrants and refugees consolidate their knowhow and find a job.

Opportunities for migrants and companies

"Fashion Deserves the World" is not just an opportunity for refugees but also for Italian companies, said the president of CNMI Carlo Capasa. "With retirements scheduled over the next three to four years, there will be 40,000 vacant spots," he said.

"Two years are necessary to train new professional figures and it would be a disaster to lose the quality of our craftsmen who are leaving their jobs without heirs. Our objective is to find those heirs and in this sense migrants and refugees are assets," Capasa went on to say.

"We are starting with this small project, which we hope will soon become a big one," he said, likening it to laying the foundation stones of a building which he hopes will grow. Capasa also called for "specific training paths including at a government level."

Laura Lucci, who is in charge of private sector partnerships for UNHCR Italia, called the project "an operation in which everybody wins. Companies need a turnover of well-trained and motivated people and, according to the latest macroeconomic studies, the diversity brought by migrants is an added value," she added.

Lucci recognized that the CNMI was "forging a new path."

Applications open on June 21

Applications open on June 21 for migrants, refugees and stateless people with a good knowledge of Italian and a strong desire to work in the sector.

Applications must be sent to the organization Mygrants' website. They will be examined by the startup and by CNMI.

The 15 finalists will then attend training sessions and start working in various companies working under the CNMI umbrella.

The initiative obtained the patronage of the Ethical Fashion Initiative, a project from the United Nations on ethical fashion, and it is part of the program promoted by CNMI in 2018 to promote inclusivity and the bring more diversity in fashion.

"Together, we will continue to do crazy things, making them normal", said Christian Richmond Nzi, Founder & CEO of Mygrants.


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