Stories - Style

The cool nomad who gives value to Africa

By Monica Camozzi
3 min read

The cool nomad uses fashion as a bridge…

…between those who have a lot and those who have nothing. Seeing Defustel Njoko arrive is like being touched by the sunlight: his smile is like a sunbeam. It has never disappeared, even when his mother left him alone with six children to raise in Cameroon, and when he decided to escape from the misery by risking his life on a flight to Brussels. It’s hard to imagine his past, looking at this cool nomad whose life was changed by a smartphone. His outfits are so perfect and sophisticated that they make him look like a dandy who grew up in wealth. And yet… 

From Cameroon to Instagram

Defustel, the coolest and the most photographed nomad at Pitti Uomo, the international men’s fashion fair in Fortezza da Basso in Florence, has two innate qualities. An endemic style and a deflagrating optimism. One day, while walking through the streets of Brussels, where he had started a small business, a passerby photographed him. In that moment began the adventure of a lifetime, one that would lead him to fulfill his dreams: to use fashion to help Africa. 

My goal is to become a bridge between Europe and Africa, by bringing Italian companies in a land I know very well in order to open up the market to the Made-in-Italy excellence

Defustel Njoko

A cool nomad with a philanthropic life. 

Can one be glamorous and philanthropic at the same time? Hedonistic and selfless? The answer is yes. Defustel spent the first money he earned in Belgium to build a school built in brick in his village, as before it was made of mud. But he also had to rebuild his life, because back in Brussels his business closed down. No panic, no giving up: the cool nomad with a big dream in his drawer got hired by Puro, where he became the logistics manager. In the meantime, he became father of three children, however he never gave up on fashion.  

Between Defustel Foundation and Suzy Menkes  

The objective was clearly marked in his soul: he wanted to speak to the rich Africans with the language of style, to create partnerships with leading companies and use the profits to help the poor Africans. But not in a passive way, like through charity. Quite on the contrary, in an active way, creating small manufacturing groups capable of constant and productive work. Initially, the prospect was to open a store in his property with the best products of men’s fashion. Now, the perspective has considerably expanded and on his goal is to open a showroom in Milan, which will become the point of reference for all cool African nomads. Those from Angola, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Congo. 

I wish for fashion to become the go-between, the hand allowing two worlds to connect: on one side, the world of those who have everything and on the other that of those who, such as the people of my village, scrape a living day after day.

The circle closes wonderfully: thanks to collaborations with brands such as Tombolini, Mondelliani, Roberto Botticelli, Quinto Ego, this amazing nomad finances the DefustelFoundation and contributes to the construction of schools and hospitals.  

Every cool nomad should have the right tools 

The smartphone is the ultimate tool Defustel uses to carry on his dream, spreading his dandy photos with a smile every day, communicating with his family during his travels and encouraging the African community to use it to create work and dynamism. One of his latest projects is actually dedicated to the digital nomad: a series of backpacks and travel bags for Fabio Zanforlini.

Spectacular colors, unique details such as the clutch bag where you can put phone and documents, super fashionable highlights such as the golden-mirrored texture, for all glamour addicted. But underneath the fashion, his heart always beats for Africa. 

Written by
Monica Camozzi
Journalist since 25 years, copywriter, storyteller, passionate of made in Italy, business adventures and new challenges.
3 min read

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