A dramatic twist at the Camera della Moda press conference.
Wednesday, February 8, while the Italian fashion institution announced in Milan the next week of parades to be held from February 21 to 27, the Italian-Haitian designer Stella Jean took to task the president of the chamber Carlo Capasa.
An intervention during which she denounced the interruption of funding allocated to the collective of young multicultural Italian designers We Are Made in Italy (WAMI) which she co-founded in 2020 alongside Francine Ngonmo (president of the Afro Fashion association ) and designer Edward Buchanan.
The 44-year-old designer lamented the inability of her members to complete their collections and present them, as planned by Camera della Moda, at the opening of Milan Fashion Week.
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“When President Capasa discovered the number of non-white Italian designers, he offered us his support for four editions spread over two years,” said Stella Jean.
Then to add: “After that, in September, considering the denunciations that we made, we found ourselves delivered to ourselves [...] the Camera della Moda no longer wanted to be linked to this independent collective. »
After which, Stella Jean announced that she was withdrawing from the Fashion Week calendar herself, and starting a hunger strike until her interlocutor guaranteed that this decision would have no repercussions on the designers concerned.
An unprecedented form of protest in the fashion sector.
Activism at Fashion Week
“I can't be the first and only black businesswoman of the Camera della Moda” indignant Stella Jean.
Very committed to a diverse, inclusive and ethical fashion, the Italian-Haitian designer is used to demonstrating her commitments through speeches such as at the United Nations or the European Commission, but also through concrete actions.
In the wake of the Black Lives Matters movement in 2020, she had decided to no longer present her fashion shows in Milan as long as she was the only black designer on this calendar.
After her return in September 2022 and in reaction to the cessation of subsidies allocated to the WAMI collective, the activist designer reiterates.
In response, the president of the chamber Carlo Capasa recalled that the WAMI collective has been supported for four seasons, including during the pandemic, and that it was offered a place at the Fashion Hub fair (which it declined) as well as in the Fashion Week calendar.
An invitation that most of its members will therefore not be able to honor, for lack of means to buy the materials and produce their clothes.
In a statement sent the next day to the
Business of Fashion
media , the president said he regretted the decision of Stella Jean and WAMI, and hoped that they would change their minds.
At this time, only two members of WAMI, Zineb Hazim and Karim Daoudi, will present their new collections during Milan Fashion Week.