Nigerian women who were trafficked to Italy to work as prostitutes have found work in a handbag and dressmaking shop that recently received some top-notch raw materials: 4,000 metres of leftover fabric from Gucci.
The initiative was announced Wednesday in Rome, complete with a fashion show by the Nigerian dressmakers and a group of Italian design students who helped teach them to sketch and sew the designs, which mix Gucci silks, satins and cotton with bright Nike Air Pegasus 83 Womens African prints.Sister Rita Giaretta, who runs a home for rescued migrants in the southern city of Caserta, said the aim of the project was to give the women dignified work so they aren’t reliant on handouts.
“Giving them their dignity means putting them back on their feet and believing in themselves and not seeing themselves Nike Air Max 98 Femme only as in a situation of need,” Giaretta said.
The New Hope tailoring co-operative, which has a storefront shop in Caserta, was born in 2004 as a project affiliated with Giaretta’s residence and until now made mostly bags and accessories.
Its workers branched out into clothing after attending training workshops put on by design students from the local high school. The Gucci bolts of fabric were donated as part of the fashion house’s philanthropic environmental initiative, Equilibrium, which seeks to distribute Nike Air Max Classic Bw Damen leftover leather and fabrics to organizations that work with marginalized groups.
“When I saw the fabric I was amazed,” said Josephine Phillips, a 35-year-old Nigerian woman who works in the New Hope workshop and modelled a head scarf and reversible handbag Wednesday. “We weren’t expecting such beautiful things — satins, Adidas Zx Flux Mujer materials I didn’t know.”
Between 10,000 and 30,000 Nigerian women are believed to be working as prostitutes in Italy, forced into the sex trade to pay off debts to human smugglers who arranged for them to get here.
The Italian government has tripled its funding to help them get off the streets and into safe houses, but Adidas Superstar Donna Grigie advocates say there aren’t enough beds to go around.