STELLA JEAN

RedMilk met Stella Jean, the super cool Haitian-Italian designer, discovering her energetic and colourful world. Her creations are the result of the meeting of different cultures, faraway places, and unique stories and faces

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Your collections are the meeting of cultures: Western culture and African and Caribbean culture. How are you able to re-invent your aesthetic every season?
Adding steps to a journey that goes beyond the geographical mapping and touches the emotional one.

How do you let yourself be conquered by the different cultures of the world?
By letting them speak for themselves. There is more history and mystery in the warp and the weft of a fabric that is part of a culture, rather than what is in its text books.

For the 2013 edition of AltaRoma you participated in the project of social responsibility, Ethical Fashion. Can you tell us about your own personal experience?
I had the honour of being able to interpret, through my feelings and my particular vision, the centennial and unique fabric of Burkina Faso. Simone Cipriani (Head of the Ethical Fashion Initiative of the ITC) gave me the chance to discover a treasure of unparalleled craftsmanship.

For this project you went to Africa with Simonetta Gianfelici who chose you to have a dialogue with African women working with fabrics. What did you understand through their eyes?
The dignity of women who preserve their cultural heritage in the first person, to guarantee a future for the their children based on tradition and territory: this explains and confirms the etymology of the name Burkina Faso, “land of incorruptible men”.

When you make a journey searching for ideas and inspirations, what would you bring with you in your luggage when you come back?
The memories that I carry with me remain attached to my eyes, my ears, to my taste; a real empirical experience.

A journey that you have in your heart?
All of the them that I’ve made. That’s why my stories continue and evolve each season, with new elements and new inspirations.

A strength and a weakness of your two cultures?
Both are characterized by a great chaos that fades into a great generosity.

Looking at your collections we can imagine that you work while having fun and that you have fun while working. Perhaps this is the secret of success?
It’s my instinctive way of working, but I don’t think it’s a secret.

You have been selected by Giorgio Armani to show in his theatre during the SS14 fashion week in Milan. What happened inside your head when you received the news?
An indescribable vertigo.

Your next trip?
I never plan well in advance.

A place to fall in love?
Wherever there is the right person… he makes the place unique.

What is the last thing you do before you conclude your working day?
I speak and share the experience with my team. For me, communication is not only an objective but it’s a necessity in the creative phase.

You have two children; what lessons would you like to leave them?
To not pass up any of the wonders that each day brings with it; the ability to wonder, stripping ourselves of conventional preconceptions, makes us alive.