Guests were invited to an exclusive talk held at the Dubai Design District this weekend, Stella Jean: The Rise Of Europe's Hottest Fashion Star. Since its launch in 2011, Stella Jean’s label and personal profile has been raised year on year. The Haitian/Italian designer was born and raised in Rome, but often looks to her Haitian heritage for inspiration, “working to promote Haitian culture” she says, alongside fine Italian craftsmanship.
The designer discussed winning 2011’s Who's On Next competition, having been rejected twice initially. It was only when she showcased her father’s traditional Haitian shirts with traditional Italian styling that she was accepted – something she describes as, “combining cultures, cultures that seemed so far from one another.”
Stella also explained how she first worked as a model but didn't find it fulfilling, before studying political science and then designing her first collection. Hearing her story was inspiring, details of facing many difficulties when starting out only made her more determined… From being rejected by showrooms in Milan to building her team up from just one to now 50 people over the course of five years and sparking interest from the likes of Rihanna and Beyoncé.
When asked about sketching her designs, she answered, “I must admit.. I can’t draw!” Stella instead drapes straight onto the body, sometimes her own, sometimes a model, and from there she begins to cut and pin. When asked about the topic of local UAE designers, she shared the many similarities she has seen to herself, how she has noticed many designers are also trying to showcase from the point of view of their heritage and roots. She added, “I'm so pleased to see designers of this region so young and express themselves through their tradition.”