Stella Jean is an Italian designer. Recognized as the first Black Italian designer. The basis of Jean’s work is multiculturalism applied to ethical fashion, resulting in a cultural fusion of her own métisse identity. Her work often merges classical Italian tailoring with stylistic features of varying cultures. Stella Jean created the
business model and sustainable development platform: “Laboratorio delle Nazioni”. In 2019 she was highlighted by the New York Times as the most convincing of all the New Gen designers in Milan.
Stella Jean has created and built the business model and sustainable development platform entitled: “Laboratorio delle Nazioni.” It focuses on what occurs when fashion becomes a tool for cooperative international development. Through missions on the field, each SJ collection is the result of the construction of a cultural bridge between Italian design and the women artisans of a developing country during each different season. An international cooperation between Jean’s aesthetic and the artisans of developing countries is an ever present staple of her designs, which aim to promote cultural heritage as an enabler and a driver of sustainable development. Despite the thousands of miles of distance that may lie between them, countless hands of women artisans in different countries work together in an ideal Laboratory of Nations, with the common goal of caring and preserving an endangered global cultural heritage. In so doing, these women are building their own economic autonomy, preserving their own traditions, and at the same time gaining a small seat at the global market table.
These missions are officially supported from time to time by the various entities such as: Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Culture and Trade of various countries cooperating with the coordination of the United Nations.
Jean’s past LDN missions have included Peru, Haiti, Burkina Faso, Benin, Mali, Pakistan and others expeditions in South America, Africa and Asia.
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.
Stella Jean is the first and only Italian fashion designer to take to the stage at a BLM protest (this took place in June of 2020) and to, in her own words, publicly denounce the existence of racial discrimination within the country of Italy.
In February 2021, Stella Jean along with Michelle Ngonmo and Edward Buchanan, founded WAMI.
For the first time in the history of Italian fashion, the National Chamber of
Italian Fashion (CNMI) has set up a work group comprised of Afro-Italian professionals: WAMI – We Are Made in Italy. As of today, it is an official work group of the Italian Fashion Council.
WAMI’s goal is to work to eliminate every form of discrimination against the Black community, and any minority in the country, regardless of origin, religion or cultural background.