Sindiso Khumalo debuts at Milan Fashion Week with Harriet Tubman-inspired collection

South African designer Sindiso Khumalo made her debut at Milan Fashion Week with a collection based on American abolitionist Harriet Tubman.

a person standing on top of a wooden fence: South African label Sindiso Khumalo bases each collection on the life of an extraordinary historical Black woman.

© Jonathan Kope
South African label Sindiso Khumalo bases each collection on the life of an extraordinary historical Black woman.

With the pandemic keeping many presentations digital, Khumalo’s namesake label presented a fashion film to feature the new collection and honor the life of Tubman, who used the Underground Railroad to free dozens of slaves after reaching her own freedom in Philadelphia. The film shows a model wandering through fields and farmland, hinting at the landscape Tubman might have known as a child.

a person standing in front of a building

© Jonathan Kope

The collection, “Minty,” titled after Tubman’s childhood nickname, features illustrations by Cape Town artist Shakil Solanki and tailored styles in hand-printed silk taffeta and handwoven cotton from Khumalo’s workshop in Burkina Faso. Khumalo’s brand also works with the NGO Embrace Dignity to employ

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Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2021: The Must-See Fashion Inspo

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Fashion month is hot and heavy, and it’s time to talk about Milan Spring/Summer 2021 Fashion Week—in particular, all the looks and shows I simply can’t stop thinking about. Given that Italy was a virus hotspot for quite some time a few months back, it was up in the air whether or not this fashion week would take place digitally or in person. Ultimately, it ended up being a mix of both, with some designers opting for intimate IRL shows and others going entirely virtual.

There were some definite high points in this season’s lineup, including a more diverse range of bodies on the runway, from Paloma Elsesser, Jill Kortleve and Ashley Graham at Fendi to Versace’s first-ever full-figured models, Precious Lee, Jill Kortleve (Again! Go girl) and Alva Claire. Of course, there’s still more than a little that needs to be done in terms

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Versace casts three plus-size models for first time ever at Milan Fashion Week: ‘We made history’

Versace is taking a step toward body inclusivity with the help of three plus-size models. 

Precious Lee, Jill Kortleve and Alva Claire stunned on the catwalk at Milan Fashion Week wearing Versace’s 2021 spring/summer collection. The new selection had an aquatic theme inspired by nature, which meant Lee, Kortleve and Claire were decked out in vibrant dresses with bold prints and colorful crop tops. 

vibrant prints from the #VersaceSS21 Collection are inspired by the ocean. See more through the link in bio. #Versacepolis #MFW

The fashion house used kitschy prints with shells, seahorses, starfish and flowers in punchy blues, greens and oranges. Some of the prints even referenced Versace’s Spring 1992 collection “Trésor de la Mer.” 

Lee, Kortleve and Claire each took to Instagram to celebrate the historic moment. 

“I’m so emotional writing this, to walk for the iconic Versace has always been a huge dream of mine!” Claire wrote.

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Plus-size models walk Versace runway at Milan Fashion Week, a first for the design house

Curves are making strides on the catwalk.

Versace debuted its Spring/Summer 2021 collection last week with models Precious Lee, Alva Claire and Jill Kortleve making history as the first plus-size models ever to walk the runway for the Italian fashion house.

Versace Spring/Summer 2021 collection. (Getty Images)

Versace Spring/Summer 2021 collection. (Getty Images)

“I’m still shaking,” Kortleve wrote in an Instagram post to her 177,000 followers following the show on Friday.

“I hope that we open the doors for a new generation with the same dreams but who never saw themselves in the magazines or the commercials.”

The leading ladies took the catwalk for Versace’s “under the sea” themed runway in bright blue, yellow and green dresses, interpreting modern mermaid fashion. Nautical looks featured starfish and seashell-printed dresses, striped crop tops with oversized midiskirts, and windswept hair. The collection, Versace said, was inspired by the “beauty and vibrancy of nature.”


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Fashion in pictures: Milan Fashion Week signals happier and sunnier times

Despite Covid-19 restrictions, Milan Fashion Week proved that the show must, and will always, go on. And it wasn’t all doom and gloom too. Designers showcased collections that remind of happier days to come (or, of the past).

Many labels sent out clothes walking the line of themes like “renewal”,”escapism” and “hope”. Optimism was big on the Milan runways for Spring/Summer 2021.

Read more: Unsexy selfies and huffy fashionistas take centre stage at Milan Fashion Week

Although, it saw scores of influencers and buyers nursing bruised egos. The reduced number of seats for physicals shows meant organisers had to be really selective when sending out invites.

Face masks were mandated for guests, as well. Selfies in front of the runway for social media, thus became something less glamorous compared to past years.

Read more: Want to be in the fashion week front row? Check out TikTok or Pinterest

“In this

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Was Milan Fashion Week Really a “Fiasco”?

When the French newspaper Le Figaro branded Milan Fashion Week a “fiasco” in a headline last Tuesday—before Milan Fashion Week had even begun—it went down in Italy about as well as a Hawaiian pizza with a side of SpaghettiOs. “Ridiculous, stupid, ignorant, wrong!” one eminent Italian editor summarized it to me. “They are just projecting their own fears about Paris Fashion Week and health issues onto us,” said an Italian house PR, more circumspectly. 

Reading below the incendiary and clumsy headline (so clumsy that Le Figaro later changed it without explanation) the evidence presented to support it was circumstantial; Bottega Veneta and Gucci were not showing (correct), Versace and Prada U-turned from physical to digital (correct), social distancing had to be maintained at the physical shows that were happening (like, obviously correct), British visitors to Italy faced a quarantine when returning home (incorrect), and—this was probably the main cause of

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Versace makes strides toward size inclusivity on the runway during Milan Fashion Week

Precious Lee, Jill Kortleve and Alva Claire starred in this season’s show.

The lack of size inclusivity on Fashion Week runways is slowly changing for the better.

Italian designer Versace, for example, has been making strides to diversify its lineup of models.

For the brand’s Spring/Summer 2021 presentation, onlookers were excited to see models Precious Lee, Jill Kortleve and Alva Claire star in the show.

Lee posted a video from the show, her first for Milan Fashion Week. This is also the first time Versace has cast full figured women.

“I will never forget this moment and how I felt before walking out,” Lee said in a statement. “The power and beauty of this brand has ALWAYS inspired me & now to be the first… wow.”

Donatella Versace, whose brother founded the company, further praised Lee on Instagram by welcoming her

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Shop 5 Suiting Looks From Milan Fashion Week Street Style

The future of fashion isn’t matching sweatshirts and pants. Judging by the many well-tailored women at Milan Fashion Week, it’s safe to say that real suiting (made of wool or twill rather than fleece) has made a well-deserved return. Milanese showgoers have reemerged from quarantine, and dusted off their blazers and suit trousers for a few days of in-person presentations and socially-distanced shows, embracing tailoring in full form. Be it a full set, tailored separates, or solo suit jackets, these polished but not overly complicated pieces are giving our overworn hoodies a run for their money. There were even short suits, three-piece suits, and blazers worn as dresses. And you didn’t have to look far to spot relaxed tailoring paired with flat footwear, easy suit jackets layered over simple white T-shirts, as well as oversized blazers atop swishy skirts. During these few days of Milan Fashion Week there wasn’t a

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Italy’s Black Designers Shake Up Milan Fashion Week

Five Afro-Italian fashion designers took center stage on the final day of Milan Fashion Week on Sunday in a bid to highlight the endemic racism pervading Italy’s fashion industry. 

The little-known black designers participated in the We Are Made in Italy digital show organized by the Black Lives Matter In Italian Fashion Collective. Afro Fashion Week founder Michelle Ngonmo and designers Stella Jean and Edward Buchanan, who are behind the Collective, have been fighting for greater inclusivity in the Italian fashion industry. Jean said their aim is to “counter the misconception that to be Italian and a representative of Made in Italy is to

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Milan Fashion Week’s Trends Featured At-Home Fashion At Its Finest

Whereas New York Fashion Week saw very few in-person shows, almost no street style, and nearly as many films as runway collections, Milan Fashion Week was about as close to “normal” as it gets mid-pandemic. Show-goers wore face masks, as did Pierpaolo Piccioli while he waved arrivederci at the end of the Valentino show, and collections included 2020-appropriate items like face coverings at Marni and elbow-length rubber gloves at Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini.


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When it came to spring ‘21 clothes, Italy’s top designers were in the mood for romance — reimagined for today’s lifestyle. At Fendi, pieces printed with photographs taken by creative director Silvia Venturini Fendi during quarantine were presented on models including Paloma Elsesser, Mona Tougaard, and Jill Kortleve. At Valentino, co-ords crocheted with flowers warmed our hearts, while bags looked big enough to fit a blanket, gourmet snacks, and natural wine, for a day spent

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