About

A PROPOSITO DI STELLA

 

Stella Jean è nata e lavora a Roma dove vive con i suoi due figli. Nel luglio 2011 si è distinta a Roma tra i vincitori del prestigioso concorso “Who Is On Next?”, organizzato da Altaroma in collaborazione con Vogue Italia. Nel giugno 2013 ha presentato a Pitti Uomo, nell’ambito del progetto Pitti Italics, la sua prima collezione menswear. Nel settembre 2013 Stella Jean viene scelta da Giorgio Armani per sfilare come ospite negli spazi dell’Armani/Teatro durante Milano Moda Donna e nell’Aprile 2014 viene selezionata dal Victoria and Albert Museum di Londra per esporre alcuni outfit della Primavera|Estate 2014 in occasione della mostra “The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014”. Il 12 Giugno 2014, Stella è intervenuta come speaker al Panel Discussion “The Power Of Empowered Women” al Palazzo delle Nazioni Unite e, nello stesso giorno, ha presentato al World Trade Organization (WTO) i capi creati grazie alla collaborazione con il programma di moda etica delle Nazioni Unite. A settembre dello stesso anno, Stella Jean ha presentato le sue creazioni nell’ambito del progetto “Fashion 4 Development” realizzato in collaborazione con UN Millennium Development Goals. Nel 2014 è stata inoltre nominata da The Business Of Fashion, nella classifica pubblicata annualmente “BOF 500”, come una delle “People Shaping the Global Fashion Industry in 2014”. Sempre nel 2014 è stata selezionata da Fashion Bomb Daily come “Designer of the Year”. Nel gennaio 2015 ha sfilato con la collezione uomo Autunno|Inverno 2015-2016 per la prima volta durante Milano Moda Uomo. Nel giungo 2015 ha partecipato all’esposizione Global Fashion Capitals al The Museum at FIT di New York, esponendo una delle sue creazioni Autunno|Inverno 2014-2015. Nell’aprile 2016 è stata invitata a intervenire alla prima edizione della prestigiosa “High-level Conference on Responsible Management of the Supply Chain in the Garment Sector”, organizzata a Bruxelles dalla Commissione Europea per la Cooperazione e lo Sviluppo Internazionale. 

I suoi look sono stati indossati da Rihanna e Beyoncé.

 

 

A PROPOSITO DI STELLA JEAN

 

Lo stile di Stella Jean riflette ed evoca il suo métissage e la sua hérédité creola in cui si fondono le culture del vecchio e la fiera verve del nuovo continente. Gli opposti si sposano in un ensemble conscio della sua preziosa unicità. Incontro e scambio sono i punti di partenza imprescindibili, supportati dalla necessità di veicolare un nuovo concetto di multiculturalità applicato alla moda che promuova la cultura dell’incontro senza mai negoziare la propria identità.

Attraverso le linee della alta sartorialità artigianale italiana si sviluppano i principi di un’eleganza consapevole, mai ostentata. Un mood la cui unicità si rivela riflesso del percorso personale multirazziale della designer, tradotto in una vera e propria cifra stilistica, punto di equilibrio ed al contempo sintesi e superamento di culture antipodali. Emblema di come le apparenze possano ingannare e  trasformarsi  in capisaldi.

Stella Jean dà vita alle sue collezioni partendo dalla stessa struttura narrativa propria di un racconto. Tutto ha inizio da un viaggio interiore alla ricerca di un’identità in bilico tra il bianco e il nero, tra capitelli  e catene. Una ricerca impossibile che si trasforma in creazione di una nuova identità non catalogabile, mezzo (di sovvertimento) di una comunicazione che avviene attraverso un racconto per immagini in cui gli styling rappresentano le pagine e ognuno di essi deve avere la forza di comunicare un senso compiuto. E dalla culla della civiltà il racconto evolve e si sviluppa ogni collezione attraverso nuove nazioni e latitudini, di volta in volta in apparente aperta contrapposizione tra di loro. Ed è lo styling che rende leggibile ogni singolo look. In un crossover  culturale che non sfocia mai in parodia né in caricatura, ricordando sempre che conoscenza e rispetto non possono mai essere subordinati alla latitudine, ma devono costituire un “a priori”.

 

 

UNO, NESSUNO E CENTOMILA CHILOMETRI

 

Stella Jean collabora con artigiani africani e haitiani sulla base di in un principio di rivalutazione, impatto economico e rispetto dei territori, delle risorse e tradizioni delle comunità indigene che vanno sostenute, preservando un infinito patrimonio di antichi saperi a rischio di estinzione e contrastando la livella svilente della massificazione imperialista. Tutto questo è mirato a generare impresa e auto sostentamento nelle comunità locali, evidenziando la forza motrice femminile, tramite la consapevolezza e l’orgoglio delle proprie risorse al fine di innescare un meccanismo d’indipendenza che scardini il fallimentare assistenzialismo. Donne in grado di mantenere i propri figli e di prendere decisioni che le porteranno fuori dal percorso di subordinazione tracciato. Fondamentale, iniziare ad evidenziare che la reale sostenibilità non arriva con i cargo, ma nasce dall’interno di ogni singolo villaggio con il giusto sostegno organizzativo e la nuova dignità conferita a livello globale.

Migliaia di chilometri fatti di incontri e di racconti cui segue un attento studio delle tradizioni locali, con il fermo obiettivo di raggiungere una crescita bilaterale. Stella Jean viaggia dal Burkina Faso alla sua amata Haiti per sviluppare parte delle sue collezioni al fine di osservare, ascoltare e cambiare, attraverso la moda, la mistificata percezione che si ha di questi paesi. Paesi invece capaci di generare oggetti di sofisticata eleganza, nati in atelier ai piedi di Baobab in cui la formazione viene fatta attraverso i racconti dei nonni e la pratica attraverso le pazienti mani delle donne, dalla cui emancipazione consegue la ripresa di tutto un villaggio.

Ogni individuo, ogni artigiano contribuisce, secondo le proprie possibilità, abilità e mezzi, a una produzione sociale incentrata sull’utilizzo dei saperi comuni e su un’organizzazione dal basso, volta a cancellare la relegazione del terzo mondo a forza lavoro ‘off shore’. Questi i presupposti che hanno permesso a Stella Jean di scoprire tesori unici quali i tessuti di tradizione centenaria realizzati in Burkina Faso da gruppi di tessitrici locali, il Bogolan del Mali, tecnica di tintura con fango fermentato, e materiali come papier-mâché, fer forgé e osso di bue lavorati dai più abili artigiani di Jacmel, Port-au-Prince e Croix-des-Bouquets con i quali la designer studia e progetta direttamente questi pezzi durante i suoi viaggi di ricerca, mettendo in campo know how italiano e abilità locali.

A testimonianza di come la moda, oltre l’estetica, possa trasformarsi in strumento di contro-colonizzazione e divenire veicolo ed espressione culturale per una crescita e un affrancamento al contempo economico, sociale ed etico.

Articoli Correlati

International New York Times – A Giant’s Helping Hand
Business of Fashion – Fashion’s New Stella
Vogue – The Beat of Africa Resounds From The Catwalk

ABOUT STELLA

 

Stella Jean was born and works in Rome, where she also lives with her two children. In July 2011 she was distinguished as one of the winners of the prestigious “Who Is On Next?” competition in Rome, organised by Altaroma in collaboration with Vogue Italy. In June 2013 she debuted her first menswear collection at Pitti Uomo, as part of the Pitti Italics project. In September 2013 Stella Jean was chosen by Giorgio Armani to showcase her designs as a guest in the Armani/Teatro space during Milano Moda Donna, and in April 2014 she was selected by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to exhibit several outfits from the Spring | Summer 2014 collection at the “Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014″ exhibition. In June 12, 2014, Stella attended as a speaker on the “Power of Empowered Women” discussion panel at the Palace of United Nations and, on the same day, presented her garments created in collaboration with the United Nations ethical fashion program at the World Trade Organization (WTO). In September of that year, Stella Jean presented her creations within the “Fashion 4 Development” project, organised in collaboration with the UN Millennium Development Goals. In 2014 she was also nominated by the Business of Fashion as one of the “People Shaping the Global Fashion Industry in 2014” in the annually published ranking list “BOF 500”. In 2014 she was also selected by Fashion Bomb Daily as “Designer of the Year”. In January 2015 she showcased her men’s Autumn | Winter 2015-2016 collection for the first time during Milano Moda Uomo. In June 2015 she participated in the Global Fashion Capitals exposition at the FIT Museum in New York, exhibiting one of her Autumn | Winter 2014-2015 creations. In April 2016, Stella has been invited to attend the first edition of the prestigious “High-level Conference on Responsible Management of the Supply Chain in the Garment Sector”, organised in Brussels by the European Commission for Cooperation and International Development.

Her creations have been worn by Rihanna and Beyoncé.

 

 

ABOUT STELLA JEAN

 

Stella Jean’s style reflects and evokes her métissage and Creole heritage, in which the cultures from the old continent blend with the proud verve of the new continent. This marriage of opposites creates an ensemble that is tuned-in to its own precious uniqueness. Convergence and exchange are the fundamental points of origin, sustained by the need to convey a new concept of multiculturalism applied to fashion, which promotes cultural crossover without ever compromising one’s own identity.

The principles of an intentional, but never ostentatious, elegance are developed and expressed through sharp Italian artisanal tailoring. A mood whose uniqueness is revealed as a reflection of the designer’s personal multiculturalism, translated into her veritable signature style. A balance is maintained while simultaneously assimilating and transcending diametrically opposed cultures. A symbol of how appearances can deceive and then become the benchmark.

 

History teaches us how, frequently, behind a fabric identified as the flag of a continent there’s a commercial and cultural domination that may last for decades, as it has been pointed out, with great sensitivity, by John Arthos and Koyo Kouoh.

 

“A European Colonial power that copied Indonesian hand-made native batik to create these fabrics (by means of industrial processes) to sell to a West African market created by its own colonial exploitation is now using copyright law to monopolize profits in all markets”.

Gadamer’s Poetics: A critique of Modern Aestheticsby John Arthos 

 

One must on the one hand be aware of the multiple channels and routes that colonial powers used to promote their economies and establish Western prosperity. On the other hand it is important to recognize the power of appropriation – and for this particular subject also of re-appropriation – within a context of competition and exploitation that led to an unrivaled shift of identity and representation attributes. The bright and distinctive wax prints are generally regarded as African fabrics, while there is nothing African about them, be it in their production technique, their design, their manufacture or their commercial marketing. But despite the success of this fabric on the African market and its strong identification as African, Africans themselves are hardly involved in the creative process for ‘their’ fabric at all. Furthermore, today the European market leader is encountering heavy competition from the Far East. Yesterday’s imitator is being imitated in turn.

Koyo Kouoh 

 

That’s why the label since the FW 2015 collection decided to produce internally and with a few small African producers, wax design motif textiles and to persevere and believe, despite the high cost of coherence, in the congruent and ethical research of the genuine local products that generate real profits to local communities.

 

Stella Jean creates her collections based on the same narrative structure typical of a story. Everything originates with an inner journey; the pursuit of an identity that strikes a balance between white and black, between capitals and chains. An impossible quest that evolves into the creation of a new and unclassifiable identity; a (subversive) means of communicating through pictures that tell a story, in which stylings represent the pages and each one must have enough substance to make full sense on its own. And from the cradle of civilisation the story evolves and each collection develops by way of new nations and latitudes, each time seemingly in complete contrast with each other. And it’s the styling that makes every single look readable. In a cultural crossover that never results in parody or caricature, they are a constant reminder that knowledge and respect should never be subordinate to location, but must exist in and of themselves.
 

 

ONE, NO ONE AND ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND KILOMETRES

 

Stella Jean collaborates with African and Haitian artisans, based on the principle of increase in value, economic impact and respect for the territory, resources and traditions of the local communities who must be supported, while at the same time preserving ancestral knowledge – at risk of extinction – and opposing the debasing effect of imperialist homogenisation. All of this is aimed at generating commercial enterprise and self-sustaining local communities, highlighting the women’s driving force by fostering awareness and pride in their resources, and triggering a mechanism of independence that dismantles the ruinous aid-dependent system. Women who can support their children and make decisions that will bring them outside their planned path of subordination. The emphasis is placed on the fact that real sustainability is not sourced externally but, with the proper organisational support, is born within each village and a new sense of dignity is conferred globally.

Thousands of kilometres consisting of meetings and storytelling are followed up by carefully researching the local traditions, with the firm objective of achieving bilateral growth. Stella Jean’s travels have taken her from Burkina Faso to her beloved Haiti to develop parts of her collections, with the aim to observe, listen and change, through fashion, the mystified perception of these countries. Countries which are, indeed, capable of generating objects of sophisticated elegance, born in ateliers at the feet of Baobab trees, where theoretical training takes the form of stories recounted by the elders and put into practice by the patient hands of women, whose empowerment results in the economic recovery of an entire village.

Social production, based on the application of collective knowledge and organised around a bottom-up approach in which each individual, each artisan, contributes according to their abilities, skills and means, is designed to eliminate the relegation of the third world workforce offshore. These are the premises that allowed Stella Jean to discover unique treasures, for instance fabrics that have been hand-loomed in a century-old tradition by groups of local weavers in Burkina Faso, bogolan from Mali, a fabric traditionally dyed with fermented mud, and materials such as papier-mâché, fer forgé metalwork and ox bone crafted by the most skilled artisans of Jacmel, Port-au-Prince and Croix-des-Bouquets, with whom the designer studies and designs these pieces directly during her research trips, implementing Italian know-how and local skills.

It’s a testament to how fashion, beyond aesthetics, can evolve into an instrument of counter-colonisation and become a vehicle for, and expression of, economic, social and ethical growth and enfranchisement.

 

Related articles

International New York Times – A Giant’s Helping Hand 
Business of Fashion – Fashion’s New Stella 
Vogue – The Beat of Africa Resounds From The Catwalk 

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