Nigeria-born designer Joy Meribe opened Milan Fashion Week on Wednesday with her debut runway collection, a concrete success for a movement to promote diversity in Italian fashion just a year after launching.
The Italian National Fashion Chamber tapped Meribe to open six days of womenswear previews for Spring-Summer 2022 after her inaugural collection for the “We are Made in Italy” initiative last year found commercial success.
“Beyond whatever video, proclamation or manifesto that we make, the real test is whether clients buy your products. Joy passed that exam,” said Italian-Haitian designer Stella Jean.
Meribe broke down in tears after the show as she thanked the fashion chamber and the movement’s founders for getting her to the runway.
The collection featured tiered and ruffled skirts and jackets with built-in capes that were both regal, as seen in an off-shoulder dress sweeping the ground, and hip, including a mini day-dresses and shoulder-baring tunic. Textiles were an explosion of bright yellow against sky blue, with tropic prints featuring thatched cottages against flourishing banana trees, which Meribe said was meant to celebrate a return to more normality.
“We have passed from a dark moment, and I wanted to create something full of hope and light, the joy of restarting,” she said backstage.