Type of practice:
In mid of 2018, the BIH government entrusted IOM provision of accommodation and management of the Temporary Reception Centres (TRCs) in BIH and fully supported IOM’s efforts to increase accommodation capacities for the best possible placement of migrants. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, IOM set up small sewing corners in Temporary Reception Centres across BiH to allow migrants to improve their sewing skills by mending and altering their clothes and creating reusable masks from recycled materials. The initiative raised large interest in the creative sector with a number of local designers, artists and companies contributing to the development of the new fashion brand “No Nation Fashion (NNF)”, that brings together the talent, creativity and craftmanship of people of different origins, whose journey brought them to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and of Bosnian artists and fashion designers. This brand was born from the vision that migration can bring new opportunities to both migrants and receiving communities, for creating more and inclusive communities.
Main beneficiaries of this project are migrants and members of the local and wider community, such as: local fashion brands and designers, artists, craftspeople, private sector, media and volunteers. IOM used the existing infrastructure in TRCs, professional equipment and materials procured using donor funding and in-kind support/donations received from the private sector to develop the first collection showcased at the Fashion Show called The Story About Us, held on 16th of December 2021 at Sarajevo City Hall to mark International Migrants' Day and the launching of the “No Nation Fashion” (NNF). The mission of NNF is to create and sell garments that celebrate the meeting of cultures, harness the potential of migration and give back to communities. NNF’s vision is that of a brand and a social enterprise that promotes the inclusion of migrants in host communities and actively participates in making our societies more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable.
Benefit and Impact
Furthermore, the project worked on building a bridge between the host communities and the migrants through promotion of cultural exchange of ideas, cultural heritage and best practices, while promoting cooperation, mutual learning and understanding within local communities, making them more inclusive.
In addition, the host communities received concrete benefits with items created under the umbrella of No Nation Fashion project being donated to the local schools and institutions (i.e. donation of 120 aprons made by migrants to a technical-culinary secondary school students, donation of bedsheets made by migrants for the children’s day hospital etc.)
Moving forward, the No Nation Fashion brand and social enterprise will be built on the premises of the 50/50 principle with 50 per cent of profit reinvested in NNF and 50 per cent donated to the most in need in the host communities.
The activities were set up in a way to offer voluntary participation of all migrants, providing them with the opportunities to contribute during their stay and to express their creativity in designing the pieces together with the local designers and telling their stories through creations, thus creating a sense of ownership over the brand. Migrants are provided with the information on the project, its vision and mission, allowing migrants to decide on the ways that they could be engaged.
Recommendations(if the practice is to be replicated)
1. identify private sector actors interested in opening their doors to migrants and asylum seekers based on the local context;
2. explore local legislation related to access to work for asylum seekers and refugees;
3. consider if there is a law on social enterprises to benefit from more favourable taxation regime.
Through the creation of the brand with the support and cooperation of members of the local and wider community, such as experts of various profiles, local fashion brands and designers, artists, craftspeople, schools, businesses and private sector, media and volunteers we were able to showcase the potential of migration and promote social inclusion through the development and exchange of ideas, mutual learning and exchange of experiences and cultural heritage by combining and using textile, fashion, photography and traditional skills from different cultures around the world as a medium.