Building on its efforts to diversify the fashion industry, the Afro Fashion Association has announced the launch of a new gala event, the Black Carpet Awards.
The event will take place during the upcoming Milan Fashion Week, on February 22, 2023, in Milan.
The first edition is set to focus on Italy, but the organisation said it has already set its sights on increasingly international editions as it becomes an annual occasion.
Its concept centres around celebrating the achievements of unheard and underrepresented voices in society and championing diversity and inclusion in the fields of fashion, design, art, music and business, among others.
A total of 10 awards will be presented during the event to 10 ‘Leaders of Change’ in categories covering culture, creativity, community, heritage and entrepreneurship.
Five of the 10 winners will be selected by an international jury of experts, while the remaining five will be selected by a popular online choice.
Additionally, ‘The New Wave’ category will celebrate the 10 most innovative and inspiring talents from around the world through a video installation that highlights their work and ideas.
As part of the occasion, a video tribute to Virgil Abloh, a supporter of the Afro Fashion Association, will honour the late designer for his contribution to the fashion world.
In a release, founder and president of the group, Michelle F. Ngomno said: "Celebrating all the stories... that's what we will be doing through the Black Carpet Awards.
“Diversity and inclusion are not synonymous and certainly not abstract concepts, nor should they be addressed as politically correct because they are an integral part of our daily lives.
“The Black Carpet Awards, unlike what the name might lead one to think, is not just about the black community, but about the colour black as an absolute, as the 'sum of all colours', which is achieved by mixing all the different pigments.
“The idea is exactly that, all together, sitting at the same table and joining forces to discuss the beauty of diversity and how it is a crucial factor for the cultural heritage and economic growth of society. This in my opinion is definitely the uniqueness and originality of this event!"