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September 13, 2020, 06.06 PM

MILAN, - The upcoming Milan Fashion Week will include a Black Lives Matter event in the September show calendar.

This year's fashion week also includes the formation of a working group aimed at ending racial discrimination in Italian fashion.

The Italian Fashion Council’s only Black designer Stella Jean hailed the move as a “breakthrough”.

Stella Jean is a Haitian-Italian designer based in Rome and recently came into the spotlight after pressuring the Italian National Fashion Chamber to promote racial diversity.

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Her suggestion? Promote cultural reform through concrete commitments toward greater racial diversity.

Stella Jean’s demands have received an outpouring of support from top fashion houses’ that support the Black Lives Matter movement.

She and other Black creatives in Italian fashion pushed for greater substance.

Five Black-led Italian brands, discovered by the founder of the independent AFRO Fashion Week Milano, will make a digital presentation during the hybrid physical-digital Milan Fashion Week from September 23-28, the national fashion chamber announced Thursday.

And the week will open with a closed-door working group of key council members under the banner “Do Black Lives Matter in Italian Fashion".

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Jean, in an Instagram post welcoming the events, called on brands ‘’that have committed the most notable international missteps’’ to join the event.

“Italian Fashion shall no longer hide behind excuses and justifications that point the conversation to other countries,’’ Jean said. “We are not asking for a seat at the table. It is past time for change.’’

Fashion houses including Prada, Gucci, Dolce&Gabbana, and Marni have all had to apologize for racially-charged gaffes over recent seasons.

Jean and others contend that such gaffes are only indicative of the lack of diversity behind the scenes in Italian fashion.

On the schedule announced Thursday, Fendi, Versace and Ferragamo will be among 23 fashion houses holding physical runway shows during Milan Fashion Week.

Forty-one others, including Prada and Giorgio Armani, have opted instead to maintain a digital presence due to coronavirus concerns.

Events will be streamed on the council’s website, as well as on mega-screens set up in key Milan locations.

Read also: Virus was Direct Cause of Death for 89% of Italian Covid-19 Victims

Valentino, which is based in Rome but normally shows in Paris, announced it will show its co-ed collection in Milan due to travel restrictions related to the virus.

Council president Carlo Capasa said during a streamed presentation that journalists and buyers from Europe have already indicated plans to travel to Milan for the events, which also include showrooms that are critical for selling the collections around the world. 

(Writer: Colleen Barry) 


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