We interviewed Joy Meribe, a fashion designer born in Nigeria and now based in Italy.


Fashion designer Joy Meribe has been one of the protagonists of the digital fashion show We are Made in Italy within the Milan Fashion Week 2020/21. We talk about her involvement in this special project in today’s interview.

Joy Meribe was born in Nigeria but has been resident in Italy since 2003. She graduated in foreign languages and literature in her native land, then pursued a Master in International Business Studies in Reggio Emilia, Italy in 2011/2012.

In 2017 Joy launched Modaf Designs, her own fashion brand dedicated to alternative, versatile and original fashion, which identity she describes as Afropolitan – Global fashion with African roots.

Discover more about Joy Meribe and her view on the fashion world below:


Questions for Joy Meribe

  1. How did you become a designer?
  2. Where does the inspiration for your creations come from?
  3. How do your Nigerian origins influence your work?
  4. What do you enjoy the most about being a designer?
  5. Why did you decide to found your own brand and how would you describe its identity?
  6. Any advice on how to put together a good outfit?
  7. On the final day of Milan fashion week, you have been one of the protagonists of the digital fashion show We are Made in Italy. Can you explain to us what this project was about? What did it mean for you to be part of it?
  8. In your opinion, are there some similarities between Italian and Nigerian fashion?
  9. Did your personal taste in fashion change through the years? If so, how?
  10. Lately we have been seeing past fashion trends coming back. Do you think fashion is kind of a cycle or is it always evolving?
  11. Will you share with us 5 names of fashion designers we should keep an eye on?

#1. How did you become a designer?

Fashion has always been my passion but growing up in Nigeria, it wasn’t seen as an intellectual job. My parents insisted more on formal education so I lacked the courage to let them know what I really wanted to do…after all they would never agree.

However, I was designing clothes as a hobby. I would also buy dresses and remodel them to my liking. I went ahead to study and graduate in the university in Nigeria, moved to Italy, studied for a Masters degree in Italy, went to fashion school in Italy to become a Fashion Designer.

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#2. Where does the inspiration for your creations come from?

My inspiration comes from the things I saw growing up in Nigeria and the influences of my second home which is Italy.

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#3. How do your Nigerian origins influence your work?

My Nigerian origins can be seen in the combinations of colours in my designs, the styles and shapes which have Afro infusions.

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#4. What do you enjoy the most about being a designer?

I enjoy the creative process from designing to the end product. I enjoy the liberty to design a garment and be able to change my mind during the pattern making process to add or remove. I don’t like feeling caged in any situation.

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#5. Why did you decide to found your own brand and how would you describe its identity?

I decided to found my own brand so that I would be free to express my unique style freely. I didn’t want to be put in the ‘box’ of just a designer or a pattern maker or any specific fashion creative skill. I would describe my brand identity as Afropolitan – Global fashion with African roots.

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#6. Any advice on how to put together a good outfit?

Personally, I go by body shape and structure to understand what would look, then apply some pattern making skills to mask or correct any defect.  As per colour combinations, I believe anybody can look good in any colour, depending on if you have the required attitude to rock your style with confidence.

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#7.On the final day of Milan fashion week, you have been one of the protagonists of the digital fashion show We are Made in Italy. Can you explain to us what this project was about? What did it mean for you to be part of it?

The project was about shining the light on 5 Designers of colour as part of the Made in Italy.  It is a #BLMIF (Black Lives Matter In Italian Fashion) initiative founded by Michelle Ngonmo, the President of Afro Fashion Week Milan, Stella Jean and Edward Buchanan, founder of the brand Sansovino 6. This is to say that ‘Made in Italy is not a question of colour anymore.

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#8. In your opinion, are there some similarities between Italian and Nigerian fashion?

The lines in global fashion have almost blurred out completely so the differences are being blended into a fusion of styles that any woman could wear.

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#9. Did your personal taste in fashion change through the years?

I wouldn’t say if my personal taste in fashion changed or not but what I most certainly know is that having lived in and experienced 2 beautiful cultures, I’ve acquired a richer fashion taste by blending my 2 cultures into a fusion of styles.

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I would say it’s a combination of the 2, like remixing old music but adding a contemporary beat to it.

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#11. Will you share with us 5 names of fashion designers we should keep an eye on?

I’ve always liked Stella Jean and have desired to meet since forever so I’m excited to be part of the #BLMIF initiative, having her as one of the mentors. AfroFashion.org is also constantly discovering new hidden talents in fashion, keep an eye on them.

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We want to thank Joy for answering our questions: we are always happy to meet such creative personalities and great professionals.

Keep up to date with Joy Meribe‘s activities on:

P.S. Check out all our interviews and discover more noteworthy designers and artists!