In 2020 when the pandemic was a fashion designer’s nightmare, Stella Jean pledged to only return to the runway when she would no longer be the sole Black designer on the Milan schedule. This season for STELLA JEAN SPRING SUMMER 2023 Runway Report, the designer’s dreams came true.
STELLA JEAN SPRING SUMMER 2023
She and Edward Buchanan, as well as Michelle Ngonmo, are credited for igniting a change within the country’s fashion system when they established the We Are Made in Italy, or WAMI collective, and soon after that, got the support of the Camera Della Moda.
The Spring Summer 2023 displayed a cultural corridor constructed through international cooperation with artisans from Madagascar, who created the first raffia sweatshirts using nothing other than native raffia and crochet needles. This is streetwear chic!
STELLA JEAN Runway Report
Regarding sustainability, the designer invested in the OG of craftsmanship. Learning from the best rather than looking for solutions in classrooms and laboratories. Clearly, the best are those who may have never heard of the term ‘circularity’ but have always practised it. Whether out of need, tradition, or traditional ways of life, they are also treasures.
This international cooperation could not help but start from Stella’s homeland. The same Umbrian artisans with whom she made her first collection once again crafted masterpieces for this one, employing orange cotton crochet paired with prominent hand-painted borders and embroidered zebras.
In both Madagascar and Italy, these women do not hold positions in fashion diversity offices. Still, they tell a rich story about the true face of their countries through their work, passion and sacrifice. Supporting these fighters of free will, which characterizes the artisan’s existence and resistance, means preserving a shared cultural heritage.
The bourgeois partisan spirit vibrates in an activist cultural pluralism. The Haitian designer, who presented a spring collection inspired by her Haitian roots, reprised her signature look of print-bearing full skirts with crisp cotton shirts and chic puffy-sleeved blouses and frocks.
It was a collection that the designer and her fans like us could be proud of.
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Photo Credit: STELLA JEAN SPRING