Haitian-Italian fashion designer, Stella Jean, shares her perspective as an entrepreneur running her brand STELLA JEAN.
I am personally inspired by Stella Jean’s work and use of vibrant prints, hand-crafted and aimed at helping trade workers in disadvantaged communities in Africa. Stella’s designs have been seen on celebrities such as Rihanna, Beyoncé and even Jay-Z. Her brand is based in Rome but is stocked in specialty boutiques worldwide. Such as Matches Fashion, The Corner, Moda Operandi, Farfetch, Net-A-Porter, and Alara Lagos.
I was so excited when she responded to my interview and I appreciate her opening up about being an entrepreneur. I hope you get to learn something new about Stella Jean and her brand. Enjoy!
What is your backstory?
I am the result of my personal background that totally shaped me. My experiences have left in me a permanent track that has given me the tools, the skills, the will and the inexhaustible craving necessary to explore everything I still have to learn and investigate. Understanding that I am a person with many facets as everyone, part of my essence is revealed and expressed right through my collections. Nothing like my creations represent the various lines of my multi-cultural mixed personality. Being part of a multiracial family in Italy in the Eighties not only shaped me as a person, but also inspired my professional path even if it has been neither simple nor painless. Actually, it was harder for me to find an identity. But fashion gave me ample space to manoeuver and find a place where both of these cultures could coexist. This weak point became both a strength and a fresh start.
The inspiration behind Stella Jean….
My own story, my roots and background have always inspired my work, that’s why I decided to materialize my personal experience mixing a shirt of my father, to symbolize the European roots, with wax design motif textiles representing the African roots of Haiti, the native island of my mother, the first independent black republic in the world.
My passion for fashion comes from the necessity of finding my own expressive language: fashion is my most authentic communications medium through which I have been able to express and resolve the sense of inadequacy which has guided me through the first years of my life. Everything started cause of my need to use fashion as a cultural translator and a tool against colonization, reestablishing the balance between symbols, stories and different worlds through style. In particular, fashion gave me ample space to manoeuver and find a place where different cultures could coexist.
The most exciting part about being an entrepreneur….
The adrenaline due to the fact of never knowing which challenges you will face and overcome tomorrow.
The most challenging part……
For me the most challenging part, still in place today, is wanting to prove through an equal dialogue of styles as there are no limits to the cultural combinations and comparisons, with the exception of a common sense of tastefulness.
You overcome the challenges by ….
Believing in what I do and carrying on my work with perseverance, determination, and always a hint of irony.
A book that changed your life….
Così è (se vi pare) by Luigi Pirandello [Right You Are (If You Think So)].
A valuable lesson you’ve learned as an entrepreneur….
I have learned how to not linger for more than 5 minutes on a problem because the rest of the time should be used in its resolution.
Thank you again to Stella Jean for sharing your experience. To learn more about her brand you can visit here.
I hope you enjoyed this interview. What part resonated with you?