Monday, June 27, 2011


I have another success story for you tonight, this time from the world of fashion.

There can be few more inauspicious beginnings to a life in Europe than arriving illegally on Lampedusa in a migrant boat after a perilous seventeen-hour voyage and then being transferred to a tented camp  - a tendopoli - in Manduria [Puglia] but for one young man, at least, a happy ending may be in sight:

Twenty-year-old Houssem from Tunisia was spotted in Manduria by Salvatore Toma, the owner of the clothing company Havana & Co , based in nearby Sava .   Inspired by the presence of Houssem and other migrants in their area,  Havana & Co created a patchwork jacket - "Social Patchwork" - in a pattern of Islamic and Chinese symbols linked by letters from the Cyrillic alphabet.  Houssem's height and striking features made him the perfect person to model the jacket and that is exactly what he did at this year's Pitti Uomo show in Florence.

Houssem does not want a career in fashion, however:  his ambition is to stay in Italy and work in the catering sector because that is the kind of work he did at home.  He would like to live in a small town, perhaps in Puglia.  His permesso di soggiorno runs out in October but signor Toma says he is going to do everything in his power to ensure that it is renewed.

I am sure that you will join me in celebrating Italian creativity and kindness and in wishing Houssem every success.

Havana & Co at Pitti Uomo


Rosaria Williams said...

It is wonderful news for everyone.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Indeed it is, Rosaria.


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