Remaining true to its mission to empower and support burgeoning designers in the region, Fashion Forward’s schedule of talks this season came up trumps.
The interactive session about ethical fashion with designer Stella Jean on Saturday was a highlight.
Born in Rome to parents of Haitian and Creole descent, the former model founded her self-titled label five years ago when she won Italian Vogue's Who Is On Next contest.
A protégé of Giorgio Armani, Jean’s socially conscious pieces have been worn by celebrities including Rihanna and Beyoncé.
“My need to design diverse collections was a move against the colonisation of western cultural and economic trends,” she says.
“I spend a lot of time travelling and speaking to women on the ground in Haiti, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia. I don’t do charity, I just work. I cooperate with them and choose artisanal techniques or crafts – making certain fabrics – that might be disappearing. I help them preserve that.
“Designing and working together this is a joy and it’s so important to celebrate opposite cultures. In design, of course it can work – the trick is not to make it look like a parody or caricature,” she added.