A lack of inclusion and diversity or a matter of money?
WAMI is the acronym for “We Are Made In Italy”, a collective of BIPOC designers. Stella Jean, an Italian designer of Haitian origin, is at the helm of this group.
Early in February, while Carlo Capasa, president of “Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana”, introduced the Fall/ Winter schedule, Stella Jean suddenly stood up and denounced the lack of inclusion.
“No promises made by the president of Camera Moda have been kept.”
“We were at the opening of the February fashion show calendar but we had to withdraw because, how do we pay for the collections if the designers don’t have the means?”Stella Jean
Wami, Stella Jean and Camera Moda: the controversy
So, Stella Jean said she dropped out of fashion week because Camera Moda didn’t keep their promise to support BIPOC designers. Also, on the same day, she started a hunger strike. Consequently, Camera Moda’s president replied they’ve supported the BIPOC collective of designers for two years, meaning four seasons. Furthermore, Capasa added they did what they could and couldn’t become entrepreneurs.
Fashion business: a matter of representation or money?
Having a certain knowledge of the fashion field, we wonder how it can be possible to set up a fashion brand in two years. Indeed, the situation is more complex than it seems, and we can identify three main problems:
First, money is the biggest issue. If you can invest in your project, whatever your race is, you’ll find a way to show your collection. Open doors in showrooms, exhibitions or fashion shows.
Second, everything has already been done in fashion, and it’s difficult for new designers to create something new or special which would make them stand out, pushing those in the industry to search for them.
Third, “black lives matter” – inclusion – diversity – disability – sustainability – fluidity – are just buzzwords the fashion industry uses for promotion. Nothing more.
Two-year support to launch a fashion brand: is it enough?
In the complexity determined by money, creativity, and representation, Camera Moda offered WAMI a two-year plan. Is it enough to launch underrepresented brands? It seems tough. Especially now.
In fact, in an oversaturated fashion market, the truth is that there isn’t much space. There are more brands than people who would purchase them. Time for a change!