Stella Jean, the designer who brings to the catwalk a mix between Italian high tailoring and Creole patterns
Stella Jean, alias Stella Novarino, was born in 1979 in Rome, from Haitian mother and Italian father. Her Creole origins can be seen in her creations, characterized by strong multiculturalism and a mix between Italian high tailoring’s cuts and ingenious elements from other cultures. Her clothes tell about the cultural heritage everybody bring with him, traveling around the world, knowing other cultures and internationalizing his one.
Her success started in 2011, when she was second at the Who is On Next? contest, a scouting project managed by Vogue Italia: the next year she officially debuted at Milan Fashion Week. In 2013 she was supported by Suzy Menkes and Giorgio Armani, who asked her to show her creations at Armani/Teatro, during the Milan Fashion Week SS14. Then, in April 2014 she was selected by Victoria and Albert Museum in London to expose some among her creations at the Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014 exhibition. In January 2015 she presented her first menswear collection at Milan Fashion Week AW15; moreover, in June, the same year, she exhibited some of her pieces at FIT Museum in New York, during the Global Fashion Capitals exhibition.
Many celebrities wore his pieces, such as Rihanna, Beyoncé, Zendaya, Viola Davis, Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, Gwyneth Paltrow and Selena Gomez.
Her ethical commitment
In 2014 you already could see that fashion, in Stella Jean’s opinion, isn’t only an aesthetic issue: in fact she decided to realize his SS collection in collaboration with Ethical Fashion Initiative and created hand-made pieces in a sustainable way, aiming at supporting African trade-workers.
Furthermore, she developed the Laboratorio delle Nazioni platform, which makes her partner with craftsmen from always different developing countries. Her aim is to use the potential of fashion as agent of cultural development and to offer better working conditions and economic independence to women coming from several countries. The designer is in fact convinced that fashion can be innovative only when it becomes a bridge between different cultures.
In 2021 Stella Jean noticed that in Italian fashion there was a lack of African designers: so she founded, together with Edward Buchanan and Michelle Francine Ngonmo, the We Are Made in Italy (WAMI) movement. The WAMI is now an official working group of Italian Fashion Council and aims at creating opportunities for minorities in Italian fashion industry, pledging equity and inclusion.