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Mar 02, 2023

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Telfar, It's not for you. It's for everyone

The last time I surfed the Internet and double checked the status of (my guiding questions were: Does it work? Is it still there? Was its launch just a drop for the hype or a consistent, long-lasting, structured project?), a girl was crying with joy for receiving her first Telfar bag. What was going on? Easy to say, the NYC-based gender-neutral fashion brand Telfar was broadcasting, on its "tellyvision", one of many clips received from their community. In short, is a black-owned 24h live-linear TV network in collaboration with the Ummah Chroma Collective ("community of colour"), hosting live shows, breaking news on upcoming drops and exclusive drips. "A drip, not a drop” is the new claim to scream out that a drip is a targeted drop. Basically, they randomly flash a QR code on screen for just a minute, so you can scan it with your phone and get your bag. The mission is to counter the reselling of Telfar's it bags, renamed Bushwick Birkin, which are quite cheap, so cool and always sold out. And this is where I get to that girl who was screaming with joy: her reaction was more authentic and exaggerated than expected for a bag that, for its price, materials and packaging, does not have its place in the Olympus of luxury. And clearly doesn't want to be there either. It is not so surprising, considering Telfar Clemens’s "not for you - for everyone" mission statement. He has entered the fashion system (his label was a special project at Pitti Uomo 97 and he has teamed up with Ugg, Moose Knuckles and Converse), but he didn’t just want to be a player, so he became a change maker. And now, between a drip and a drop, he is extending his motto, adding "It's not for everyone, it's for everyone. The world isn't everything. Peace <3." With one goal in mind: creative freedom and allowing community artists to continue to have the ownership of their own work.

Nensi Dojaka, the Albanian designer supported by Alessandro dell'Acqua, who seduced the Lvmh big players

"Tutti mi chiedono, tutti mi vogliono," to quote Figaro's cavatina in Rossini's Barber of Seville. Who is asking for Albanian designer Nensi Dojaka and her clothing made of light triangles, sliced and layered and held together by laces thin as filaments? Zendaya, Dua Lipa, Emily Ratajkowski, Emma Corrin, Adwoa Aboah, Bella Hadid, among others. Who was the first to bet on her talent? After Lulu Kennedy's Fashion East hub, it was the turn of the Italian Alessandro dell'Acqua, who offered Nensi a mentorship programme and, to top it all off, gave her responsibility for the creative direction of a N°21 capsule collection. In the meantime, the designer won an Lvmh prize, winning over a judging panel including six of the group's creative directors: Virgil Abloh, Jonathan Anderson, Maria Grazia Chiuri, Marc Jacobs, Kim Jones and Stella McCartney. Then it was time for her BFC Foundation Award. As Nensi told me in an interview for MFF-Magazine For Fashion: "I was the biggest fan of Alessandro's work since I started studying fashion. It felt very special that he contacted me and he was definitely the first one to fully believe in me from the very beginning. It was a huge support and my business took off quite a lot from this moment. I'll always be thankful to him." Shortly afterwards, she added: "Maria Grazia Chiuri told me to stick to what I'm doing and not forget the core of it because she believes it’s what sets me apart." In this case, garments as a tool for empowerment that fit the moment, and the right mentors are keys to success.

Collina Strada, the platform for climate and social awareness, change and self-expression that won the heart of Gucci's Alessandro Michele

Collina Strada is a creative community that pushes the boundaries of traditional fashion: a family of choice and not just a clothing brand. Hillary Taymour founded it in Los Angeles during her college years. She was making handbags but felt like she needed a break after five years. "I became exhausted with emotions for using so much leather," she said, moving towards kaleidoscopic ready-to-wear. Then the brand flew higher and higher, reaching New York and gaining the spotlight for a genuine ability to rethink how fashion fills the space around us and what to provide for all sorts of bodies, with a responsible approach in ethics, fabrics and supply chain. But Collina Strada also means caring about all aspects involved in the inclusive mission - a happy one, celebrating people by not forcing them to fit a mould of perfection. For now, it can still be considered a parallel universe, but it is real enough to have won the heart of Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele, who included Collina Strada as one of the brands of his Guccifest and then in the Gucci Vault project.


Margherita Malaguti
Fashion Styling Alumna, Milan. Editor