I’m not a fashion guru by any means, but even a novice can spot the exceptionally creative talent behind the designs of Stella Jean. A quick perusal of Jean’s Instagram page reveals enough uniquely fierce looks to craft the ultimate closet wish list. If her penchant for bold tribal prints and mixed patterns speak loudly to you, it’s because their seams are woven with the intention of igniting a conversation about culture that deserves an international platform.
Raised in Rome by an Italian father and a Haitian mother, Jean’s stylish signature creations symbolize a merging of her backgrounds, which was somewhat of a challenge for Jean growing up in Italy. As she told Fashion Magazine, “I felt Italian, but other people didn’t allow me to be it.” In reference to her collection, Jean intends for the Haitian and Italian cultures to “communicate, one beside the other, without one suppressing the other.” As a result, the cultural appreciation inspired by both sides of her family tree serves as the basis of her “Wax and Stripes” philosophy. Wax is represented by the African wax prints Jean uses as a nod to her mother’s Haitian lineage, while stripes reference the fashion sense of the designer’s father, who often donned striped dress shirts.
Since its inception in 2011, Stella Jean’s eponymous line has since been joined by a menswear line which debuted in 2013, along with a children’s line released that followed. In a short time, the Rome-based designer has quickly racked up major accolades from the fashion world elite and the momentum for her success continues to pick up steam.
Jean’s fashions are certainly of the must-have variety, but here are a few facts about the designer that are just as intriguing:
Jean’s self-taught. However, a lack of formal training and drawing skills didn’t deter her from success. In 2005 she took the top spot in the fashion talent competition, “Who’s On Next.”That win would set the stage for her ongoing relationship with Italian Vogue.
She worked as a model. As a former model for Diane von Fürstenberg’s first husband Egon, Jean spent a great deal of time studying and fostering her love for the design process, which eventually led her to abandon her political science studies to pursue fashion full-time.
Her skills impressed Armani. In fact, Jean’s work convinced the renowned designer to do something he’d never done before—share his show space in Milan along with members of his team to help Jean showcase her spring/summer 2014 collection.
She’s an advocate for ethical fashion. As a part of a collaborative effort with the International Trade Centre’s Ethical Fashion Initiative, Jean makes it a point to source materials from countries like Burkina Faso, Mali and other disadvantaged nations.
Jean designed a signature home collection. The Stella Jean Home capsule collection consists of six vintage armchairs designed to reflect Jean’s unique cultural vantage point.
Click through our gallery to check out collection images!