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Fashion has always been the passion for co-founders of the Kinabuti Fashion Initiative, Caterina Bortolussi and Francesca Rosset. Rerouting their creative energies from the fashion label Kinabuti, the ladies have created other projects where fashion mingles with social entrepreneurship to transform and empower youth. One of such projects is the Urban Fashion Lab.

The Urban Fashion Lab Idea was birthed in 2016 to meet a direct need- actually, to meet a set of needs. The intention is for the lab to provide fashion accessories and serve as a reliable network for quality materials in the Lagos fashion and hospitality industry.

The choice of the Orile-Iganmu area of  Surulere is to provide opportunities to the over 1 million people who live there in quite difficult conditions. Many people within that area work on informal jobs with low wages. The project shall directly affect the economy of this area by promoting entrepreneurship through training skilled sewers and offering professional job opportunities.

Open to all, the youth in the area  After the Sallah break in August, the  first set of joiners began training.

The unstoppable team are being taught by Ms. Ikwo, the Creative director LATREIA designs who teaches skills like achieving a proper backstitch, proper zip-fixing, inserting single and double welt pockets and how to insert a flap into pockets along with other things.

Ms. Ikwo teaches in a hands-on way. She instructs on the dos and don’ts and then gives them tasks to complete. The students immediately return to their equipped stations and practice what they have learned and then show the results to their tutor. She supervises their completed work and provides feedback on what they have done right and what they need to improve on.

KFI partners with other bodies on this project.

The Urban Fashion Lab has been newly furnished with machines, equipment and new storage cabinets by the joint effort of these organizations. The partners are  OIPA, Time for Africa, Promo print ventures, LATREIA and Equal Health & Right Access Advocacy Initiative.

When the day is over, the students are given assignments to complete.

Already, the Urban Fashion Lab is positioned to improve the livelihoods and futures of the young people as well as fill a need in a huge market. When passion meets purpose, the results are life-transforming.