The Utopia Project’s mission is to Broaden the Standard of Beauty by re-affirming the beauty, intellect and determination of pre-teen and teenage girls – through workshops, panel discussions and residency programs. Implemented in conjunction with FashionAFRICANA, The Utopia Project is designed to teach how art and commerce function together in the field of fashion by connecting youth with industry professionals (e.g. editors, designers, models and photographers). The Project also expands on FashionAFRICANA’s roots by demonstrating how inspiration for contemporary fashion is drawn from African culture, geography, topography and language. Participants learn about the art and business of fashion design from successful artisans and models of color who share their enthusiasm for the business, offer career advice, and instill pride in African materials, crafts and spiritual forms. Over the years, The Utopia Project has presented at Westinghouse High School, The Ellis School, Schenley High School, Gateway High School, CAPA, Imani Christian Academy and various community-based organizations serving youth within the Pittsburgh region.

The Utopia Project in 2009 at Reizenstein school (Pittsburgh Obama) – featuring legendary Pittsburgh fashion model Yvette Bobonis Flaxman.


Photographs © Dino Gabriel DiStefano