Coco&Cowe

A Conversation with Stella Jean

4/27/2015

Ritratto Stella Jean - ph Andrea Benedetti

 

I’ve had my eye on Stella Jean for a while now. You see, as a Canadian born child of Haitian descent, anytime I hear or see others of Haitian or bicultural Haitian descent, I’m excited to learn more about their contribution to different genres such as fashion. When I mentioned to a few industry people that we had the opportunity to interview Stella, the general consensus was that Stella was not only stunning but also one of the most interesting and talented people in fashion today.

Throughout her collections, one can see the beautiful merger of her mother’s Haitian heritage and her father’s Italian heritage as well. In this particular Spring/ Summer 2015 collection, Stella Jean depicts every day Haitian life through her colourful prints while merging the Italian tailoring and fit in her garments.

StellaJean SS2015 140917 (23)

If you’re in Toronto, I encourage you to shop her beautiful collection (her clothes are flying off the racks…no joke) at Holt Renfrew.

 

 

Name: Stella Jean

Age: 34

Sign: Gemini

Where did you grow up? 

In Rome.

Where do you currently live?

In Rome.

Did you study design?

No, I didn’t.

How did you get started in design?

At the beginning I worked on the other side of the fence as a model but I quickly realized that my real vocation was being a creative, a designer. Anyway, I do not regret the past as a model because this has also helped to make me who I am today.

I decided to start designing my own label in 2009 and, after being rejected twice, I finally won the Who is On Next? Contest, an international scouting project organized by Vogue Italia and Altaroma.

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.

 

Does your Haitian / Italian bi-culturality inspire your design aesthetic? If so, how?

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 pattern prints representing the African roots of Haiti, the native island of my mother, the first independent black republic in the world. When I combined these two elements together I finally had my Wax & Stripes Philosohpy. Telling a true story, totally authentic, for the first time, has been my strength. It’s about stylistic, cultural and social oximorons with an ironic twist, where opposites meet and find their balance between the academic rigour of the Old Continent and the vibrant exuberance of the Creole culture. These are my cornerstones and it seems that has worked.

Stella Jean SS 2015 lookbook  (1) - Copia

When designing your collection, what is your creative process?

Behind my creations, there are no programs, virtual applications or market research, but people. With their gestures, their skilled hands, the threads, the books about history and literature, the social contrasts. I love to talk to people, I like looking at their pictures, I guess the stories of their grandparents and the elderly. That way it comes out a story with details, locations, and clothes. Furthermore, I’m not able to sketch, I didn’t study fashion, so that’s not something about academics but it’s something that starts from the depths of my soul. For me it’s very important to shape and drape the dress directly on the body. Having the body three dimensions we cannot commit only to paper.

Stella Jean SS 2015 lookbook  (6) - Copia

 

Your Spring / Summer 2015 line is beautiful, feminine and colourful, what was your inspiration for it?

My SS2015 collection is a declaration of intent and confirms my commitment in testifying, sharing and tracing back secular traditions through narrative images. Thanks to my sourcing trip to Haiti with the ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative team, we got in touch with the Haitian tradition of Art Naïf, discovering such a rare treasure of artisanal and skilled handcrafts. The market, acting as social barometers, is where we can meet proud vendors adorned with scarves enhancing femininity. Adding to the hustle and bustle of the market, “tap-tap” buses also have a strong presence in recreating this atmosphere. The “tap-tap”, the traditional means of public transport, is also described as “pop art on wheels”. Adorned with subjects belonging to religious, popular and historical tradition; ironic phrases, proverbs or messages; the tap-tap are painted by artists who attend art schools specialized in tap-tap painting. Donkeys, another important means of transportation and labor, and sugar cane, are also recurring Haitian elements that reappear on prints and hand-painted fabrics, completing the visual landscape of this collection.

Stella Jean SS 2015 lookbook  (5) - Copia

Finish this sentence: a woman should always have the three following things:

A white shirt, sense of humour and memory.

 

Thank you, Stella, for your time!

 

Bisous,

 

Winy

 

Follow Stella Jean:

 

Instagram & Twitter: @stellajeanltd

 

Facebook

link lovin’

4/26/2015

orchids

Now THAT’s an entrance!

Another crazy week, unfortunately still chill but happy for the sunshine!  Here are some of our favourite post this week:

This print needs to be mine.

Did you watch the Bruce Jenner interview?  Kudos to him for his bravery!  It was interesting to read what one of his wives had to say.

Refinery says you’re removing your makeup wrong.  I’m lucky if I remove it….  The horror.

A new curated craft store on Queen West.

Yum

Could you do it?

Loved this post.

What famous women think about female friendship.

Great entrepreneurs and the traits they share.

You are beautiful. 

This beach coverup!

Take me away…..

I love seeing what different people like about cities I love. RAOP has a cool city guide for Vegas and even though I’ve been there a bunch of times her slightly different perspective gave me a bunch of new spots I want to hit up!

xx,

COCO

 

Getting Fresh with Joe #contestalert

4/24/2015

 

joe-fresh-final-2

Joe Fresh has so many of this season’s fashion essentials we couldn’t help but want to collaborate with them.  We’ve created a really fun flash contest for Instagram that will launch tomorrow morning at 10am!

 

joe fresh 12

We will be giving away a $250.00 gift card to Joe Fresh so you can stock up (this whole outfit only cost $100 – including the jacket!) PLUS three of our favourite Coco & Cowe items.

Log onto our Instagram tomorrow (HERE) for full contest details.

*contest open to Canadian residents only…  womps*

Good luck!

xx,

COCO

photos by Eva Rosalia

 

 

From Homeless To Harvard, One Woman’s Mission

4/21/2015

toni morgan

I found out about Toni Morgan from the place I find out about way too many things nowadays, on Instagram.  I was scrolling along and was moved by a post about a woman who had gone from living on the street to getting accepted to Harvard on my friend Gavin’s stream.  Knowing him and knowing that he isn’t one to repost much of anything, let alone something that wasn’t legit, I immediately tried to find a way to connect with Toni, and here’s why.

As I’ve mentioned before Toni has been homeless, she didn’t graduate from High School, she’s now what many institutions would consider a mature student but not old enough to be considered mid-career.  All of this would make getting into a graduate program at Harvard not only difficult but close to impossible, but Toni did it.  She did it with a strength and tenacity that almost reverberates through the screen as you watch her speak about her journey on Youtube. 

Toni has been accepted into the Masters of Education program at Harvard.  She will focus on non-traditional education which will also enroll her into the Harvard Business School and MIT.  This part touched me the most.  Because 1. I come from a family of teachers and believe so strongly in the importance of education 2. I work closely with the Remix Project, an organization that realizes the potential in people even when the traditional forms of education fail them.

Toni’s story is one of inspiration to all.  One that reminds us to keep fighting for our dreams.  One that reiterates to me that we need to continue to find ways to support those within our community who are willing to take the extra steps towards greatness because these are the women and men who will be taking the strides to effect real and tangible change right here in our neighborhoods.

The one glitch in this whole story is that graduate programs aren’t cheap.  Especially graduate programs in the States.  Especially graduate programs at Harvard.  There aren’t many scholarships available for Toni and the price tag is a heafty one.  So Toni is looking for our help.  For our community to put our money where our mouth’s are and support one of our own.  The good news is that since Toni opened a crowd funding page on GoFundMe.com she’s raised a whopping $83,000.00!!!!!  With the help of some local news stations, social media and people like you and me, Toni is so close to her goal of $93,700.00.

I’ve donated and I hope that in what ever way you can, you do too!

Good luck Toni!  Thank you for the much needed dose of inspiration.  You’re a star.

Donate or learn more about Toni’s incredible story HERE

 

xx,

COCO

How Your Favourite Street Style Look Translates to your Home

4/20/2015
 
There’s no doubt about it that the worlds of fashion and decor are continuing to collide. As an interior designer, I have always believed in decorating your home to suit your lifestyle, personality and fashion sense. Read on to find out how your favourite street style looks can be translated into your home decor.
 
Black and White Street Style:
 
Nothing packs a more powerful interior design punch than the bold colour combination of black and white. While we have been wearing it for years, it’s making an aggressive comeback in our homes. The stark colour contrast makes for an incredibly dramatic and timeless classic. Opt for larger items such as upholstery, flooring, or walls in these monochromatic shades to make the biggest statement. 
 
Eclectic Street Style
More than ever, people are taking risks with combining different materials, styles and and items from different eras. While the high/low trend of mixing your favourite Louboutin pumps and Zara blazer has been around for some time now, people are really starting to adopt this way of thought into their interiors. We’re seeing a tremendous uprise in mixing a variety of different materials and finishes for a more collected, layered and energetic space. By creating this mix of materials, textures, and genres, your interior becomes more unique and truly tells the story of your lifestyle. Experiment by mixing unexpected colours, textures and furniture pieces to get that collected look.
 
Fur:
Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 1.51.07 PM  
Fur is in. A hot trend both on the runways and off. As the daughter of a fashion stylist, I have always found myself perpetually surrounded by fur jackets, hats, and everything in between. As I grew older, I began incorporating this uber luxurious material wherever possible. It is really the epitome of luxury and decadence. In a similar way to how throwing on a fur vest or jacket instantly pumps up the luxe level of an outfit, adding a fur rug, throw or pillow can add amazing texture and flair to any room.
 
Mixed Metal Accessories:
While we have been wearing it on our bodies for centuries, metal is creeping into our homes in all guises and places, from wallpaper to flooring, appliances to furniture. For the most stylish interior metal touches, we are adoring it as a kitchen island finish. Opt for mixing warm metals such as brass and copper, with cool ones such as stainless steel for an unexpected and interesting layered look. The riskier and more fashion forward, the better.
x,
Montana
See more from Montana HERE

 

Contact Coco & Cowe

catriona@cocoandcowe.com