“Laura told me about you” (invented name). “And what about?” “Bloom as you are. Do you think my story might interest you. ” “What is it about?” “I work in the fashion field and in this period I am covering my origins. A little bit like I was flourishing “.
My conversation with Charity started like this. An affinity of experiences that intertwine and build new paths hand in hand. When lives shine, they meet unexpectedly and wonderfully creating an even more intense light, which shapes a radiant future with skill and precision. I never believed that things happen by chance and this meeting was yet another confirmation. Driven by an inexhaustible passion, overcoming difficult difficulties that appeared both in the environment and in the intimate sphere of life, this strong and splendid girl managed to lay the foundations for one of her dreams and, once the main road was opened, to continue to go through it in an endless study, with itself and its roots. Work as Image Consultant, sustainable fashion, the link with Africa, the desire to help and enhance the beauty of others. Charity embodies the joy of living, the joy of being as we are.
When was your passion for fashion born?
I was very young and I shared the room with my sister who is one year younger than me. We had a lot of fun combining outfits based on our personality, our taste and how we felt at a particular moment.
How did you get to your Image Consultant job?
The starting point was completely different. I have always been a sportswoman and played volleyball until I was 19 years old. I wanted to be a player all my life but once I graduated, due to a thrombosis, I had to stop. So I decided to take a path that approached fashion. Milan would have been the ideal situation, but the costs for a possible course of study would have been very high and unsustainable for me at the time. So I decided to sign up for communication and marketing. I moved to Reggio-Emilia and enrolled at the university with that field of study, with the determination that it would become a launching pad to get into the world of fashion. At the same time, I embarked on a training course at the Accademia del Lusso in Milan, a fashion styling course that took me one day a week. Thanks to it, I was then able to carry out an internship as an assistant Art Director where I dealt with the image of brands and emerging talents in the world of cinema. Over the years, I went from communication to fashion. As a dresser, to the backstage fittings of some fashion shows. Now I am Image Consulting, I live in Milan and I teach this subject precisely at the Accademia del Lusso.
Is there an experience in the place where you work that has particularly struck you?
They are a lot. I particularly remember two situations that filled me with joy. One occurred when I followed a final thesis path in the role of tutor. The student and I decided to tell the story of the image consultancy carried out together with a blind girl. We structured the work in such a way as to highlight the appearance of the 5 senses and how fundamental it was for a very shy, blind girl to choose a dress that was extremely in touch with her daily mood. So feel good even without using sight. It was a very deep and very emotional journey. The day he discussed the thesis, I remember everyone’s great emotion. It was a very felt project in fact on the day of the discussion there was a great standing ovation from the commission. The other situation was with a girl who was facing a transition from male to female. It was very important also in this case to take care of every detail. We worked on what she needed to enhance the wonderful woman she was becoming thanks to the use of a right make-up suitable for her face. A wonderful experience.
What do you think the role of the teacher is and how do you live the relationship with the students?
Certainly what I try to do every day is to help each student to bring out their potential. Each course aims primarily at achieving awareness of your appearance, your tastes, the analysis of how you are and the colors that most illuminate us. Without hiding and without pretending to look like some other individual, let’s experiment and discover together what 100% values us. By doing so, you have the possibility to rearrange your wardrobe according to your real needs and to do many other searches by appreciating your body. In the delicate work of image consultant, action is taken to transform the image of another person. It is therefore good to start from your personal image. I grew up a lot thanks to this teaching experience. Dealing with many different people is not easy.
In this moment of imprisonment, what advice would you give to continue to enhance our style?
It is the ideal time to rediscover ourselves, to understand what we like and what we don’t like, to test without judging us. Try a lipstick, a new nail polish. Clean the closet, if we haven’t done it yet, and try on those clothes that we haven’t worn for some time. A dress evokes a sensation, it is a way of expressing oneself. If we are at home we can use some of our time to understand what kind of emotion a certain lipstick gives us, a dress and so on.
What is fashion for you?
It is developing your creativity, making different combinations for different objectives. Fashion must also remain a game. When viewed too seriously, it becomes obvious.
It is also the second largest industrial sector in the world. What is your vision regarding sustainable fashion?
We have reached a point, and Covid-19 has shown us that we can no longer live in a world that is not sustainable. And the life we are leading is not. Or at least not enough. I discovered the vintage for a few years and with it the pleasure of reusing clothes, giving them new splendor. We can put in action many actions to avoid wasting, like exchanging clothes or recycling them. Sustainability starts from a desire which must then be declined and applied in the various production phases. The commitment affects everyone: from small consumers to large retailers, but I think this theme falls heavily on the consumer. It is we who have the power to change large retailers. As long as we continue to buy fast fashion we will create the demand and the offer will be provided to us. We have to decide to change our habits.
How could a person who bought fast fashion until yesterday reverse the course and create a sustainable wardrobe?
It can rearrange it with the rule of three, that is, each article must be combined with three items. It is no longer necessary to have 15 skirts in your wardrobe. So first of all we can decide to reduce the number of clothes we have. And push us, make an effort to make more combinations. They are truly feasible steps for everyone and they bring you into a dimension that promotes sustainability. Think about it. We have a lot of clothes that we no longer wear. As I mentioned before, we can donate them or reuse them, rediscover them. Trends pass and return, it will be more and more so. The grandmother’s vintage jacket that we love a lot, for example, can become a must-have of our wardrobe and can be combined with different garments that we already have. It is a way to rediscover your potential. Also I think we should learn to tastefully integrate what we really need.
Why do you think there is this spasmodic need to buy continuously?
Because we have to fill holes, gaps. This moment can serve us to understand that everything we need is actually already within us. We are asking the big brands to change the whole production order. We will get there, it takes time. What we can do today is to start with our little one.
What future do you see in the fashion world between now and the next 10-20 years?
I foresee much more awareness starting from the fashion shows that I think will be increasingly unified. Less collections, less waste and a different way of showing them. The See Now Buy Now will perhaps be increasingly present. I think it will take the opportunity to see a garment and have the opportunity to choose whether to buy it made with different, more sustainable materials. I see a more ecological way of experiencing fashion.
What are your plans for the future?
A management agency that represents Afro-descendant artists and that advertises events and art in the round. According to both, I noticed that some aspects were not taken into consideration when instead each person has certain specific characteristics. I noticed that as far as minorities are concerned, we often fell into the stereotype. This choice is not to ghettoize but to gradually sensitize the world of entertainment to certain needs that we have and which are often not respected. For example, afro hair needs special care to be treated. I would like that one day all this was an integral part of Italian culture in the sphere of entertainment, that there is this cure for every ethnic background but to date, for what is my experience, it is not so.
How did you connect this agency to your passion for fashion and what path did you make compared to your origins?
I think it is the center of what I think now. By experimenting and playing with fashion and taking care of the whole body, I realized that I felt limited in playing with my hair because in the past I had straightened hair. I opened my eyes to the fact that I was getting stuck on my own in an idea of beauty that did not represent me. At the same time I tried to experiment with artificial hair because it allowed me to have a different result. I realized that I was looking more outward than looking at how to enhance my identity. So I started working on myself and I really flourished again. My desire is to rediscover my origins and also help others to do the same. Many of my friends have emigrated to other European cities and others to Africa saying that there was no future for them here in Italy. This thing made me suffer a lot because I instead experienced that here you can build your way without denying what you are. I have the inclination to see the positive aspects in others and to want to enhance them. I said to myself: why do it only in the field of fashion? I can also do it in the show. So cure the talents, support them in this inner journey of rediscovery and enhancement of who we really are.
What are the African designers who are inspiring you in this period?
One is Abiola Olusola. He is of Nigerian origin, just like me. His collection has an authentic flavor and the desire to tell its origins. You can breathe the craftsmanship and liveliness of the mix of fabrics with printed prints in Nigeria. A hidden but very strong femininity. I like the combinations and the simplicity of the cuts. The other is Mokodu Fall, a Senegalese painter, a volcano of ideas. His research focuses on the representation of the human being. From art to fashion, therefore, the step is short. In particular I am struck by his works transposed on clothes in the Jardin de l’amor collection, an explosion of colors. Each piece represents the uniqueness in wearing it and the style is unmistakable. Fashion and art are increasingly interconnected and in Africa there is a lot of turmoil now. Many artists find in Italy the natural place to express themselves and take root, just like Mokodu.