Barbara Spezini, Colori Vivi, Italy
Supporting refugee women in self-sufficiency through fashion
“We started with small numbers and one idea: a tailor's shop - not just a physical place, but also a place of integration, a place of redemption, dignity, peace and cohabitation.”
After 15 years as a social worker for children and women refugees, many of whom have survived violence, Barbara Spezini founded Articolo 10 in 2013, an NGO that works to protect and support women and children asylum seekers and refugees. Articolo 10 refers to the 10th article in the Italian Constitution, which declares the right for refugees and asylum seekers to be welcomed.
In January 2017, Articolo 10 launched Colori Vivi (part of the Arten brand), a "made in Italy" fashion laboratory where refugee women, led by volunteer professional tailors and stylists learn the basic principles of tailoring to create quality clothing and accessories.
Many of these women are survivors of violence and in order for them to integrate into a new professional working environment, Color Vivi’s pilot laboratory has created a community, allowing them to overcome their trauma, and to develop the professional and language skills needed to enter the work force.
“Before we began this project, we had met refugee women who were turned into “goods” in every sense of the word. We wanted to make an impact by helping these strong, courageous women to re-discover the dignity they had almost forgotten, or perhaps never found.” Barbara Spezini, founder of Colori Vivi