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Black Lives Matter and Italian Fashion

  • August 02, 2020

He wrote that it was “a pity” Ms. Jean had never asked to be part of the diversity and inclusion work group, and he maintained that she had always been given support, attaching a list of discounts she had received since 2013, totaling more than 175,000 euros.

“We’ve granted you various gratuities and preferential treatment in the last few years,” he said. “I don’t understand why you write as if none of this ever happened.”

In an interview, Ms. Jean acknowledged the financial help but said that Mr. Capasa had missed the point of her letter: It wasn’t about her but about all Black people in Italian fashion.

“We are still completely invisible to them,” she said.

More than 100 companies make up the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, but Ms. Jean said her company is the only Black-owned brand.

This is not her first time speaking out about the marginalization of people of color in Italy. During Milan Fashion Week in February, instead of a runway show, she made a video featuring Italian women — students, lawyers, executives — sharing racist remarks they had received. (It was more upbeat than it sounds.)

Ms. Jean said she will not return to the official Milan Fashion Week calendar until she is no longer the only Black designer on it. She has grown tired of being an anomaly.

“I don’t want to be the only one anymore,” she said. “But it’s not about boycotting. It’s about asking for change.”

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