Rome – Italy

Main objectives:

  • Promoting craftsmanship as a path to social integration and change.
  • Developing training courses of excellence and individual apprenticeships for refugees, migrants and unemployed persons.
  • Promoting multicultural, supportive and sustainable creativity.


In April 2019, Terìa inaugurated its project, Coloriage, a social tailoring workshop open to unemployed artisans, migrants and asylum seekers, located in the “Città dell’Altra Economia”, in the so-called ex-Mattatoio area in Testaccio, Rome.

In Coloriage’s workshop, artisans and designers of different origins work together with professionals from the world of fashion, sharing know-how and practices.

Ever since its opening, the workshop’s objective has been to promote craftsmanship as a factor of social inclusion and involvement, especially through training courses and apprenticeships for unemployed youth, migrants and asylum seekers.

Once refugees and migrants arrive at their country of destination, they are offered unqualified jobs which they accept in order to meet their immediate needs. The uncertainty of their professional situation has a negative impact on their socio-economic integration. However, many of the migrants in Europe come from countries where artisanal culture is still alive and strong, especially in tailoring, and they are highly competent in this field.

On the other hand, in our country we have an increasing number of unemployed youths who are looking for alternative employment to the impersonal, automatic work in factories, and are showing a new and increasing interest in craftsmanship.

It is therefore possible to notice how both migrants and unemployed youth could fill the void in the Italian textile and tailoring field, if only they were offered the tools to learn or to perfect their acquired competences, according to European tailoring and design criteria.

With the social tailoring workshop project, Terìa aims at promoting and strengthening the capacities and skills of the artisans involved, by offering courses focused on European sewing and tailoring techniques, in order to guarantee adequate socio-professional involvement.

The project of a Fashion School for people belonging to vulnerable categories started in April 2019, at the same time as the opening of the social tailoring workshop. The reclaiming of professional sewing machines from an ex-fashion school in Lugo di Ravenna made it possible to set up the workshop and to employ a tailor and a seamstress, both refugees from West Africa, who took part in a training course under the guidance of a professional involved in the project on a voluntary basis.

From this first experience a collection was created, inspired by European design and African wax textiles, as gifts to private donators who funded our training project.

Thanks to the success of this formula, Coloriage started a partnership with other organizations that are active in welcoming refugees in the territory: 1) MEDU-Medici per i Diritti Umani (Doctors for Human Rights), welcoming a torture victim from the Gambia for a course in cutting and sewing, 2) Civico Zero Onlus, welcoming an unaccompanied minor from Mali for the basic course in cutting and sewing.

Following this first experience, one of the apprentices found employment in a tailoring workshop in Rome, and two others become stable collaborators of the Coloriage workshop.

Due to the great demand for training courses, on behalf of both apprentice tailors and other organizations in the country, Terìa launched its project for a “Free Fashion School”.

Between the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, Terìa won the tender “IMPATTO+2019” promoted by Banca Etica, and launched a successful crowdfunding campaign on the Italian “Produzioni dal Basso” platform, to fund an intermediate/advanced tailoring training course designed for 5 migrant/refugee/asylum seekers artisans, mainly women, who needed to perfect their capacities according to European techniques. Thanks to this first funding, the Free Fashion School was started.

In 2020, in order to develop the project of the Fashion School, Terìa established contacts with some of the more prestigious fashion schools and academies in Rome, and created a team that could provide courses of tailoring, patternmaking, fashion design and history of fashion. Terìa, for consultancy, also turned to the “Black and White – The Migrant Trend”, a platform that studies the trends of migrant fashion. Among the teachers chosen: Americo Tafaro, a cutter for Valentino and Capucci; Carlo Santolini, a young fashion designer who has worked with Valentino and Bottega Veneta; Clara Tosi Pamphili, fashion historian and teacher at the Academy of Fashion and Costume and at the Academy of Fine Arts; and Khassim Diagne, a Senegalese cutter and tailor trained at the Academy of Fashion of Doriano Pergolari of Rome.

The idea behind the Fashion School project is to offer training of the highest standards to people from disadvantaged groups.

Thanks to the collaboration with different organizations involved in welcoming migrants and refugees in the country, Terìa selected 5 beneficiaries of the courses. The lessons were scheduled to start in March 2020, but because of the Covid pandemic and consequent lockdown they were postponed. In May, when lockdown was lifted, Terìa initiated the courses through individual apprenticeship adjusted to the capacities and skills of each participant. In 2020, Terìa welcomed 7 pupils for the training apprenticeships in patternmaking and tailoring techniques, 4 of which, after the course had finished, became stable collaborators working alongside the team of artisans of Coloriage workshop.

At the end of 2020, funding received from the organization Cild (Coalizione Italiana per le Libertà Civili – Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties) made it possible for Terìa to renovate and modernize the workshop and bring the electrical system up to date, and buy a new professional sewing machine in order to increase the possibility for training. Cild will further fund 3 months of training allowance for 3 refugee or migrant apprentices. Training allowance is one of the strong points of the Coloriage training project; the beneficiaries of the course all belong to vulnerable categories, and wouldn’t be able to guarantee a regular attendance if they weren’t able to meet their primary economic needs.

At the beginning of 2021, Terìa started a collaboration with SAMIFO (Salute Migranti Forzati – Forced Migrant Health) Asl Roma 1, and with Servizio Pon Inclusione of the Municipality of Rome, welcoming a refugee tailor from Cameroon and a refugee Syrian seamstress for 2 apprenticeships of 6 months. In addition, Terìa welcomed a young female migrant from Senegal and a young unemployed Italian woman for a basic course of cutting and sewing.

In May 2021, with the partial restarting of activities, the 2 apprentices and the 2 pupils joined the 5 selected candidates for the Fashion School: 1 unemployed youth, 2 asylum seekers and 2 migrant tailors, and Terìa started the courses of the Free Fashion School.

One of the strengths of the Fashion School project is its multicultural and multilinguistic profile, of both the team of teachers and the students. In the summer of 2021, thanks to the collaboration with the platform Black and White – The Migrant Trend, three different tutorial courses were organized by Terià:

  • From May to July 2021, the pupils followed a course in Patternmaking and Tailoring Techniques focused on the creation of paper patterns for accessories, held by Caterina Franceschetti and Khassim Diagne.
  • At the same time, a course in Fashion Design and History of Fashion was held by Clara Tosi Pamphili and Carlo Santolini, focusing on the planning of a collection and storytelling in fashion, in order to get students to talk about their identity, their story or their journey through an item of clothing.
  • Beyond the fashion curriculum, the foreign pupils were offered an individual course in Italian of 2 hours a week, offered by volunteers from the Migrant School network – Monteverde Solidale.

Having achieved such incredible results, given that this project proved to be an extraordinarily successful and efficient harbinger of integration, Terìa decided to start seeking funds to continue the Free Fashion School experience.

The experience with the Free Fashion School is at the base of the creation of a cooperative and social entreprise: “Cooperativa di Produzione Lavoro e Impresa Sociale Coloriage”, founded in 2021, involving the members of Terià organization and migrant designers and artisan beneficiaries of the social tailoring workshop. The cooperative has taken on the productive aspect of the Coloriage workshop, while the Terià Organization continues to manage the Free Fashion School. The Coloriage Cooperative offers a real work prospect for the beneficiaries of the courses at the Fashion School, ensuring the sustainability of the Terìa educational project.

Although the establishment of the Cooperative was an important junction for the social tailoring workshop, its production and commercial results wouldn’t be possible without the humanitarian and organizational soul of Terìa, especially without the Free Fashion School project, a place where creativity and exchange between artisans and designers from different cultures brings to light a new cross-cultural tendence in fashion.

In June 2020, Coloriage set up a temporary store in Termini station. For 18 months, the social tailoring workshop’s collection was sold in the well-known shopping mall, enjoying an extraordinary success with the public. In November 2021, Coloriage inaugurated a corner shop in Rome’s historical Fair Trade store, located in Piazza del Popolo. At the base of these successes was the hotbed of the contamination of styles, textiles and cultures that make up the Free Fashion School. Until the end of 2020, the Free Fashion School was funded by the sale of the collections created in collaboration with students and ex-students. However, since 2021, after the foundation of the Coloriage Cooperative, because of management expenses and taxes on labour, the continuation of the training experience has been dependent on external funding.

In January 2022, Terìa received a contribution from Lugano Haiku Foundation to fund two courses in the Free Fashion School, one in patternmaking and sewing and the other in fashion design, designed for 8 pupils selected from migrants, refugees and/or unemployed candidates. As well as the team of students, the team of teachers is composed of professionals and designers from different cultures, such as Khassim Diagne and Carlo Santolini.