MILAN—Perhaps one of the more commercially palatable shows we have ever seen from Stella Jean, her Spring/Summer 2016 men's collection was for an urban male whose defining fashion hallmark is his Burkina Faso stripes.
This time, through her link with the Ethical Fashion Initiative, she wove the artisan work of the West African nation into her collection without using her clothes as a moving mural.
Instead, she used symbolic images like the stripe and the Gordian knot to link contemporary, urban society with the lives of the hard-working women of Burkina Faso's artisan villages.
"All the striped canvas were produced by hand in Burkina Faso," Stella Jean told NOWFASHION. "I continue the collaboration. It is an evolution that is key to continue telling the story of these artisans," Jean said.
Cool summer shirts with pomegranates and radishes and tees with rainbow strokes were paired with vibrant plaid shorts, military green, tapered pants or striped slacks. Strappy leather sandals with chunky white soles took Jean's beach boy from day to night.
With Pitti’s "Constellation Africa" set dedicated to African designers, the fashion world here has started to really digest Africa's potential to change fashion on a global level, but Jean, an Italo-Haitian designer, has been a pioneer in highlighting African talent since the inception of her brand.
With this collection, it was clear Jean has understood that she has a role in driving Africa's influence on the worldwide fashion landscape.
And with this Spring/Summer 2016 show, she demonstrated that perhaps the key to this revolution is telling Africa's story in a way that the whole world can understand.