Romani Designis a social enterprise and a fashion label that reinterprets traditional Romani motifs with a modern “twist” for women who like unique brands and socially responsible products. It aims to create a dialogue between Roma and non-Roma population as well as jobs for Roma women.
The label takes up Roma traditions and shows courage for colours and patterns: Fashion, jewellery and accessories by Romani Design are very much inspired by traditional Roma clothing. Traditional fabrics and patterns come upon innovative shapes and cuts, the combinations are as daring as well-made. And that’s not all: the Hungarian designer and jeweller Erika Varga not only designs fashion and jewellery, but aims to convey a message with her creations: “My designs are influenced and inspired by traditional Roma clothing and appeal to Roma and non-Roma alike, thus enabling a cultural exchange.”
Romani Design is also a learning centre for disadvantaged young people, for unemployed Roma and non-Roma and is supported within the ERSTE Foundation Roma Partnership. This informal alliance was created in 2012, together with the foundation’s partner NGOs that are dedicated to improving the life of Roma people in different communities across central and south-eastern Europe. As well as receiving financial assistance, members of the ERSTE Foundation Roma Partnership are supported by a range of experts and consultants on their journey to becoming more sustainable, more marketable, more successful and more independent in today’s complex world.
ColtivAzioni Sociali was a three year project that aimed to improve community living and foster a culture of sharing in Dergano, a district of Milan . The project used food as its main tool to reinforce social inclusion and further cultural exchange. The objective was to promote the active participation of children and their families, whether Italians or non-Italians or new or old inhabitants of the district. It helped to create a network of micro services for common use.
One element of the project was the way it offered workshops on urban gardening and agriculture, through interacting with gardeners and farmers. Those involved learnt from each other and exchanged recipes and techniques of food preparation from all over Italy and the world.
Through this engagement and dialogue there are now many ideas in the pipeline for the neighbourhood, for example sharing snacks in public spaces and ”open kitchens” where together people prepare and share traditional recipes. They are even hoping to produce their own neighbourhood bear and implement an experimental service for grocery delivery.
The project was co-financed by Fondazione Cariplo and promoted by the ICEI together with the association ABG (associazione di genitori), ASNADA onlus), associazione De.de.p and L’amico Charly onlus in collaboration with INDACO, Politecnico di Milano and the institute Bodio Guicciardi plus other local associations.