The logo of the Fashion Bridges project.

MILAN — Italian and South African institutions have joined forces for a project intended to establish a long-term partnership between the fashion industries of the two countries.

The Embassy of Italy in Pretoria, South Africa, teamed up with Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana; Polimoda; Centro di Firenze per la Moda Italiana; Lineapelle; South African Fashion Week, or SAFW; Italian Trade Agency ICE, and the Nelson Mandela Forum Firenze to launch the “Fashion Bridges” initiative encouraging cultural exchange and supporting young designers.

The partnership is based on three main actions, including favoring talent recruitment by establishing an academic cooperation between some of the key fashion schools in the two countries.

In particular, SAFW and Polimoda have picked three talented neo-graduates hailing from South African fashion schools and three from the Florence-based institution to offer a virtual training program developed by Polimoda with the support of the Italian fashion chamber. During this program, the designers will be paired to develop joint capsule collections, which will be presented during Milan Fashion Week in September and South African Fashion Week the following month.

The Lineapelle leather goods trade show will supply materials to talents to craft their creations.

The promotion of young yet established brands will be additionally enhanced, as a designer per country will be selected and assisted in identifying business opportunities in both markets as well as establish a contact with local agents.

Roundtable discussions and business-to-business meetings between South African and Italian companies operating in the fashion and textile industry will represent the third implementation of the “Fashion Bridges” project. At the end of October, producers and buyers of raw materials, fabrics, leather and textile machinery will meet in Johannesburg for an event aimed at strengthening technical skills and supply chains of the fashion industries in both countries, with a focus on themes ranging from quality to sustainability.

To promote all these initiatives and provide information about all the parties involved, a virtual visual diary has been created on the Some Other Label platform run by Errica Iacopini, which will showcase the stories behind each designer and follow their respective brand’s development.

A special logo has been created to embody the cooperation between Italy and South Africa, depicting a stylized image of Florence’s iconic Ponte Vecchio bridge rendered in the traditional South African Shweshwe fabric dating back to the 1800s.

The “Fashion Bridges” project follows “German Italian Fashion Experience,” which Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana launched in partnership with the Fashion Council Germany earlier this year. As reported, this long-lasting bilateral exchange project was aimed at enhancing the visibility of emerging talents hailing from both countries.