07/19/2024

Since starting my career in fashion at the age of 15, as a founding writer for Teen Vogue, I’ve been involved in every aspect of the Fashion Week shows. From attendees to PR assistants, sourcing nylons for model kits the night before! I also wear headphones on the front desk to make sure editors are seated, dress models backstage or diligently accompany designers from one interview to the next. But at 5’1″, I’ve never walked a runway. Until last weekend in Milan, that was… let me take you along!

Goodbye Milan! Haitian-Rome design darling Stella Jean returns to Milan Fashion Week after a two-year hiatus. Back in 2014, I was delighted to see Stella Jean’s first official Milan Fashion Week show at the Teatro Armani show. Since then, my relationship with Stella has grown. Before the pandemic, in February 2020, Stella wrote to me that she would not be participating in MFW until the Italian fashion agency made space for the BIPOC community in Italy and acknowledged it. Frustrated by horror stories of attacks and everyday injustice, Stella Jean declared a state of emergency. She acted quickly to launch a social media campaign and accompanying brochure, Italians are becoming, in collaboration with the Italian Anti-Racism Office. In summer 2020, as other fashion brands rallied around the social justice movement, Stella Jean, Milan-based designer Edward Buchanan and Afro Fashion Week founder Michele Ngomo asked: “Black Lives Matter in Italian Fashion Does the world matter?”

After presenting five made-in-Italy brands “The Fab Five Bridge Builders” led by BIPOC last fall, Stella Jean returned to the show over the weekend to present her Spring/Summer 2023 collection, alongside Buchanan’s Sansonvino 6 collection, as well as the latest A group of designers who make up the “We Are Made in Italy” initiative.

When I spoke to Stella in August and we were discussing bridesmaid dresses, she mentioned that she would be returning to Milan Fashion Week. As she gleefully told me about her plans, I jotted down the details: dates, times, etc. Whatever you need, Stella! ’ She asked me for my size. Of course! I’ve always been honored to wear Stella Jeans. But it wasn’t until Juri, her design assistant, came to me with my model card to fill out, that I finally realized I was walking. I love supporting young , the passion that brought me to the Obama White House through Mrs. Obama’s team, and now I’m being asked to actually walk that path.

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