The collaboration with the Italian fashion council will continue in September, when five new designers from Italy’s minority communities will be featured during fashion week. And Jean also is creating an event featuring designers and artisans from Africa, with the goal of creating partnerships between Italian fashion houses that can learn sustainable production methods in exchange for training in the global fashion system.
“You speak about sustainability ad nauseam here, and what I see is anything but sustainable, believe me. In the countries where I work, people are working 99% sustainably, as a result of necessity, of restriction or desire,’’ Jean said.
Jean is also working on a database of African artisanal techniques, fabrics, motifs and other cultural references. The Italian-Haitian designer sees the move as a bulwark against cultural appropriation that does not economically benefit Africans and a way to prevent racist gaffes.
Valerie Steele, director of the Fashion Institute of Technology’s museum, said many of Jean’s ideas could be replicated in the United States and elsewhere.
Steele, who has some of Jean’s creations in the collection, recorded a conversation with the Italian designer for Black History Month, which will be released on FIT’s YouTube channel on Thursday to highlight Jean’s role in shaking up Italian fashion.
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