Would you believe me if I tell you that street sellers in Barcelona form their own fashion label? You will probably tell me not to joke. That was excatly my reaction when a friend of mine who lives in Spain introduced me the topic. Well, it is definetly true. Whereas nations like Italy keep on arguing about immagration issue, there are countries as Spain, and in particular Barcelona, which face the problem and try to find a solution. The new fashion brand called Top Manta will not be protagonist of the future fashion weeks for sure, but at least it marks a turning point in our society.
Top Manta comes from the manteros’ (street sellers) desire to feel integrated in the society with the purpose of rooting out the forgery and illegal selling. The name of the brand, Top Manta, is a symbol of their identity. In fact, manta means blanket, that blanket they use for work. Even the logo is a representation of three basic elements they have in common: the blanket, the wave, symbol of the Mediterrean, and the boat they use to migrate. T shirts and shoes wont finally have the well known sporty brands’ fake logos, but a social and legal meaningful hallmark.
Top Manta is in fact a leagally registrated brand with a collective and social identity based on a collaboration between anti-racist organizations and DiomCoop, a Fair Trade company. The manteros also formed a Union of Street Sellers to make them and the brand socially recognized. Although some catalan citizens are still sceptical about its success, they have the support of the government. This is a good beginning for the 500 “businessman” who look forward and want to open a shop.
This is a good story which also open up a discussion of what fashion really means. In my opinion, Fashion is also and above all this. Just as there were designers who made their collections postcards of social revolutions, Top Manta, in his own, it is fighting his battle. It will be a honour for me to wear a pair of this shoes. And what about you? Will you support this cause?