Thoughts on Black Lives Matter in Fashion

If you followed the Milan Fashion Week you must have heard of the Black Lives Matter movement in Fashion, aka how the Black Lives Matter dialogue transposes into the world of fashion. 

Does fashion remain silent or is fashion gradually changing?

“Breaking the silence” writes the Fashion For All Foundation on its Instagram page, where it urges action on Black inclusivity and equality of treatment. The attempt is to make people aware of the ratial injustice that coexists between us and it unconsciously shapes the way we think about people with a non-white skin. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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It is highly narrow minded to think that this issue only affects Americans because it had burst out from American police mistreatment. This assumption prevents us Italians from theorising and building a discourse on this issue, and the easiest reaction is to ignore racial behaviour and to neglect it affects us all. 

If we were to take into account the whole Italian population, we would be astonished to realise how many Italians are descendants of immigrants and the large amount of migration levels that are being registered. We should really start building a conversation on multiracial Italians, who are not predominantly white indeed. 

In an interview between designer Stella Jean, the only Black member of the Italian Camera della Moda, and Imran Amed, CEO and editor-in-chief of The Business of Fashion, Stella is asked to give her opinion on how the Black lives matter movement is perceived within Italian Fashion. Needless to say that the theorisation of this topic in fashion is far from being taken seriously. A potential conversation has just begun thanks to Stella’s primary interest, due to her Italian and Haitian background. 

See the full interview here: Stella Jean: Do Black Lives Matter in Italian Fashion? 

Interview by BOF with Stella Jean

Needless to say that the theorisation of this topic in fashion is far from being taken seriously. A potential conversation has just begun thanks to Stella’s primary interest, due to her Italian and Haitian background. 

When talking about her personal experience, Stella explains how fashion works for her. Instead of being an instrument through which she shows her aesthetic, she conceives it as a powerful tool that can express her multicultural identity: “I don’t use fashion with an aesthetic purpose, but as a tool to fight against any cultural segregation”. Fashion can become a freeing weapon for all of those cultures that are isolated and are not given that much of attention.

This point of view is crucial for a fashion theorisation. Fashion, in all its creativity, can educate people on supporting and celebrating cultural difference and individuality. Fashion thus becomes a sort of “therapy” to use Stella’s words, because it heals the person who can freely express her oftentimes silenced identity.

Yet, Black designers are still invisible – How can we create a dialogue about it?

Brands are slowly opening to a change because they aim to embrace social discourse, but what’s more challenging is really striving for internally improving.

We are in a period of time where change is possible and is being heard, so we should encourage it in order to make it sound louder. 

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