The only Black designer belonging to Italy’s influential fashion council is demanding a “long overdue cultural reform” from her colleagues under the slogan: Do Black Lives Matter in Italy?
The conversation has gotten off to a rocky start.
Stella Jean, a Haitian-Italian designer born and raised in Rome, launched her appeal this summer. She asked the Italian National Fashion Chamber and the global powerhouses steering it, including Prada, Ferragamo and Zegna, to back their social media pledges supporting the Black Lives Matter movement with concrete, transparent commitments toward greater racial diversity.
Exasperated, Jean has decided not to preview a runway collection at Milan Fashion Week until “they demonstrate awareness of the problem.”
‘’When you talk with them, they have no bad intentions, I know them. But they say something like ‘What are you talking about, Stella? We have never heard about racism in Italy. It is not an Italian story, it is about the U.S., the U.K., other countries. Not Italy,’” Jean told The Associated Press. “My response is: ‘Why do you see all these people filling squares from the north to the south of this country for Black Lives Matter, this entire generation of invisible new Italians?’”
Soccer, another important Italian cultural institution, recognized that Italy has a problem with racism and worked to eliminate it.
Racially charged gaffes by Italian fashion houses have been well-documented, from Gucci’s Blackface sweater to Prada’s Little Black Sambo bag charm to Dolce&Gabbana videos that were seen by many as mocking Asians. This summer, Marni, another major fashion house, apologized after being called out for its images of a Black man with chains around his ankles.
Jean and the co-author of her appeal, Milan-based U.S. designer Edward Buchanan, said in interviews that the issue is deeper than just culturally insensitive designs. But they say those gaffes highlight the lack of diversity in Italian fashion houses and the “pervasive racism and prejudice” in the industry despite ‘’significant funds allocated to provide sensitive training.’’
Their push is to open doors to Black Italians who would like to work in fashion but don’t see themselves represented and don’t see a way in. They also are demanding data on Black personnel employed in decision-making roles in fashion houses — not models or marketing staff who they say “are sadly more often than not displayed for show.”
’’We want to send a resume to a headhunter and not have it shut down because you are a Black designer,” Buchanan said.
In their appeal, they spoke for dozens more whose names did not appear but include Italian and Italy-based Black creators like Michelle Ngonmo, who launched an AFRO Fashion Week Milano on her own after failing to get the backing of the fashion industry, and Louis Pisano, a writer and influencer who has worked in Italian fashion for a decade. Pisano cites incidents like having his fashion show invitations scrutinized while white influencers are waved into events.
Many more “are hesitant to speak out for fear of a professional lynching,” Jean said.
A frequent refrain from Black creatives in Italian fashion is that they are often the only person of color in the workplace. They also see their opportunities and access limited by their skin color.
Buchanan, the designer of his own luxury knitwear label, Sansovino 6, started out in Italy more than 25 years ago launching ready-to-wear at Bottega Veneta, and has worked with Calvin Klein and Donna Karan. Now when he is called for consulting jobs, it is exclusively for streetwear or urban brands, despite his luxury credentials. Meanwhile, white colleagues with similar resumes now hold creative director positions at major brands.
’’I am absolutely happy with the scale of my career. But I can say honestly that opportunity has not come to me because of the color of my skin,” Buchanan said.
Stella chafes at the Africa Hub, which promoted five brands during Milan Fashion Week in February. She says it gave a market space but no runway visibility to brands including Ghana-based Studio 189, co-founded by Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah, which has previously shown at New York Fashion Week.
“Why do we need a special area like you are visiting a safari?” Jean asked.
The president of Italy’s fashion council, Carlo Capasa, defended the Africa Hub, saying it was set up alongside a section to support China, which was mostly missing from Milan Fashion Week due to the coronavirus pandemic, and some young Italian brands. The only Black designer to present a runway show at Milan that round, which Jean skipped, was the British brand A-COLD-WALL.
Capasa told AP that the council would produce data on diversity inside fashion houses, and that a progress report on the diversity manifesto would be made in December. He said the global Black Lives Matter protests had created a sense of urgency behind diversity pledges but added that “making deep cultural changes requires time,” citing the need for multi-year programs “to include all minorities.’’
“What happens inside a fashion house mirrors the social construction of the country. Italy is different from the United States,” Capasa said. “In every country, inclusion and diversity assumes a slightly different meaning.”
Jean emphasized that she is trying to prompt change from within as the only Black designer to belong to the council since its formation in 1958. Her eponymous brand, rooted in multiculturalism, has grown steadily since her Milan runway debut seven years ago.
While she won’t show in September, she has asked Capasa to host a Black Lives Matter event to kick off “the immediate launch of a long-overdue fashion cultural reform.″apnews.com
Cedarwood Luxury Launches Quick Response Code
Fans of Cedarwood Luxury brand of apartments and terraces can now enjoy more perks following the Quick Response Code (QR Code), recently introduced by the management of PWAN Plus Business Concerns, owners of Cedarwood Luxury estates.
The Managing Director of the firm, Dr. Julius Oyedemi, who disclosed this to journalists in Lagos, explained that Cedarwood Luxury Apartments and Terraces embraced the innovation in order to take its tradition of customer satisfaction a bit further.
Dr Oyedemi, who is also the Managing Director of Property World Africa Network (PWAN) Group, explained that QR Code is an innovation which business concerns are now using to enhance easy and fast access to information for accuracy and for security.
“Now if you go to our Lekki head office Cedarwood Luxury Apartments and Terraces our QR Code is conspicuously placed at our reception area, for all to just scan and then get to know more about PWAN Plus and our services.
“I saw that some real estate firms are trying to emulate what we are doing and decided that we should take the perks further, for the benefits of our huge clientele.
“We are now integrating all customers’ data and client information so that just at a scan they can see all our transaction, know more about the company, our offerings, and updates if any instantly. We are the first firm to introduce QR Code into real estate business,” Dr Oyedemi added.
According to the property guru, people living in the Diaspora will appreciate it more because they are more digitally inclined. He explained: “They don’t need to spend more on making calls unless when it’s absolutely necessary.
“All they need to do is scan our QR Code and it takes them to our companies domain where they can access every information first hand. It is also relevant security wise,” Dr Oyedemi further explained.
Barr Rejoice Alabi, Personal Assistant to the Managing Director, threw more light on the QR Code pointing out it’s unique relevance to real estate practice.
“It is a two dimensional barcode used for inscription of website, PDF documents linked to YouTube and a lot more things. In real estate what we sell is information; and you can use the code to plant information in a very unique way such that people can quickly get relevant information first hand, not through a third party.
“When you use PR code to send information people get the accurate information, because they are not redirected to another platform that will direct them into another platform before they get the information,” Be. Alabi said.
He related how the firm to leveraged on the enormous potentials of QR Code to make bumper sales even during covid-19 pandemic era.
“Our business received tremendous boast during the lockdown period, without engendering physical contact, just because we deployed the innovative QR Code.
“We now have QR codes in different sizes, we have QR codes for documents, we have QR code for large display, for events and what have you. All of these we have adopted to make our business as well as customer satisfaction more effective.
Explaining how the code works Alabi said when the link of a website is imputed on QR code software, it generates a very unique QR code for that particular website.
And when people scan it, they are redirected to the website and they will see all about the website. “If you have a product on your website, they will know about it firsthand. The website also bears a lot of information about your business, the product you are selling, the location, price and other details, Br. Alabi said.
“Invariably, QR Code is a secured unique inscription to direct clients to our website. A lot of people are counterfeiting a lot of things these days; but the deployment of QR Code becomes a way of securing things digitally.
“If you have your product in scripted in your QR code, nobody will come and counterfeit it because they can’t counterfeit QR code. All they can do is to end up creating another QR code which can’t work with what you have. It is indeed a way of securing information and making sure that people have the right and accurate information.
“The QR Code has also a unique role to play in real estate documentation. Let’s say a client buys a property in one of our estates, for instance, Cedarwoods Luxury, the clients will definitely have plot demarcation number , bearing the details of his or her plot. It will also have the person who allocated that property and other unique details so that if you scan the code you have it all,” Alabi further explained.
Waiting For Men To Demand Sex In Relationships Childish — Yetunde Bakare
While some women are shy about initiating sex with their partners, an actress, Yetunde Bakare, does not see anything wrong with it.
During an encounter with Sunday Scoop, Bakare said, “Waiting for one’s partner to make the (first) move is childish. Women have their moments too. There are times we (women) feel sexually aroused and if one does not make a move, one’s partner is not a witch and would not be able to guess what’s going on with one.
That’s why some women have terrible mood swings. They want it (sex) but feel too shy or proud to ask for it. If one’s partner is one’s best friend, asking for sex should not be a big deal.”
The actress also debunked the claims made by some that Nollywood is not lucrative. She said, “I disagree (with that) absolutely. If it was not a lucrative business, there wouldn’t be any successful filmmaker.
However, we have people like Funke Akindele, Mo Abudu and Kemi Adetiba, who have shown that one can be successful in Nollywood. If one makes a good movie with high standards, one would definitely enjoy doing the business.”
The role interpreter, who is active on social media, also noted being on such platforms had affected her positively. She added, “Being on social media has affected me positively and it has also changed a few things about me.
People close to me know that I neither keep friends nor go out a lot. However, mixing with people on social media has been good for me. Negativity does not get to me because I have a thick skin and I don’t take anything to heart. I simply use the ‘block button’ and that ends it.”
Bakare also noted that she had lost roles because some people believed that dark skin wasn’t camera friendly.
“I lost a lot of roles back in the days because they believed dark skin was not camera friendly. But, I thank God that a lot of things have changed. Now, talent is all that matters”.
On whether she can act as an influencer for a sex enhancement product, she said, “Yes, I can be a social media influencer for sex enhancement products. I think it is about time we start talking about it because sex is one of the fundamentals of marriage.”
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