By Chere Di Boscio
We’ve often said before in Eluxe that Milan is a desert in terms of ethical fashion. With the possible exception of Gucci, whose parent company, Kering, has recently implemented important sustainability policies that will transform the group by 2016, there has been very little eco-fashion for us to report from the Italian fashion capital. Until now.
Stella Jean’s Cultural Hybrids
A protege of Giorgio Armani, whose show space she took over last season, Stella Jean is one designer who is aiming to break the highly-polished mould of Italian fashion. The half Italian, half Haitian designer is keen to incorporate textiles and prints from her mother’s native island into her collections: she believes that it’s more important to highlight the ‘weaker’ part of her heritage in her work, and thus strives to incorporate Haitian music, art and folklore into her fashion ranges.
This season, she’s also thrown in a Japanese touch to her ethnic hybrid, adding Koi fish motifs on some looks.
“No Stella Jean piece is ever bought with a season, or fast fashion in mind – these are to be worn and passed down through generations,” says Vogue’s Dolly Jones.
But that’s not the only reason why Stella Jean’s work is ethical: the designer works with small groups of well-paid artisans in Africa and Haiti, all of whom receive frequent technical training to ensure long-term, fulÃ¯ ¬ lling employment. She also ensures that materials are locally sourced, natural and organic whenever possible.
In fact, Stella is part of the Ethical Fashion Initiative, a United Nations based body that aims to improve the ethical and ecological footprint of the fashion industry, whilst keeping those in developing countries in full time, well-paid employment.
If only Stella Jean’s influence seeps over to other Italian designers, we just may start going there for Fashion Week after all.
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