Fashion Caribbean held in Saint Vincent over the weekend on August 14th brought together some of the hottest designers in Caribbean fashion for 2010. A tight four hours packed into one night with thirteen designers on stage, the event proved that the organizers at Image Model Management know their audience and can produce an event that meets the needs of their customers while still balancing the needs of designers and the fashion-loving public.
The venue for the event was outdoors at the Emerald Valley Casino. The weather played havoc on things for a bit because of rain which affected parking and the mud that it caused. The event was marred by a late start of near one hour waiting for the DJ and the announcer to arrive. This turned the event into a five-hour event for those of us who were there early; however the organizers kept us informed while we waited, while Michael Jackson played in the background.
The introduction brought out a choreographed piece that showcased a line of fun shades. This lasted for about five minutes. The first designer onstage was KAJ designs from Kevin Julien of Trinidad and Tobago; his collection represented Resort Wear. The swimwear was integrated into some of the pieces and was full of color and vibrancy. Ecliff Elie and the “Viva Arima!” collection came next and showed a variety outside of what we have come to expect in Caribbean menswear designers. Largely rooted in the history of the Amerindian culture, this collection is heavy in tan, brown, red, and blue while it experimented in textures of leather and suede.
Shaun Griffith Perez presented his couture line and opened up with his red men’s suit. This set the tone for the other pieces that were to come the red and white pieces in the female line causing the crowd to show their appreciation. Zadd and Eastman followed and their collection was well put together pushing beyond the boundaries of what we have come to know from this dynamic duo. It is definitely one of the best collections I have seen for 2010 in Caribbean Fashion. We were on hand to see them at their only public showing for the year, cementing their place as one of the best designers in its category in 2010.
Scrapey Dopwell a St. Vincent Carnival costume designer was up next with his jewelry collection. Fitted against black spandex pieces the jewelry stood out in an interesting fashion. Kimon Baptiste came next with flowered patterned pieces and bright greens and yellow pieces in the collection. The designer also looked great in her own flowered pants piece walking the runway.
Brenda Mc Intosh came next. This collection was focused on African prints and colors, the models moved to the theme song of the just concluded World Cup in South Africa. This collection tied both elements together nicely and got some members of the audience feeling the music and dancing along. Millhouse brought the usual flare and his 2010 male collection integrated with a choreographed piece that showed men in a classic fight for a woman. The models rocked the pieces and showed that men can do anything in a Millhouse piece and look good doing it. The Intermission came next.
Kuumba Designs restarted the show with its trademark resort wear continuing its usual strong showing. Queen Esther showed her usual flare and strong use of fabrics. Earth Member for Life brought an urban casual element to the night with its casual wear being the only line in this category, with its strong theme. The line is both funky as well as messaged T-shirts, the jeans line is trendy and caters to both males and females, this line definitely diversifies the Caribbean fashion landscape.
Cole Facts was up next with its swimwear. It is an interesting line; it seems like there was some experimentation with this line. The Cole Facts final line, which ended the show, was gangbusters with its strong colors for its resort line makes the entire resort collection a hit. It is a top contender in the resort wear category for 2010.
Natural Beats was interesting and we hope that that will continue along the path with some great pieces. The new designers in the Fresh Faces category were surprisingly good and Jenel Charles and the youngest, Kira Yagami, and others show that St. Vincent has the talent but it has to be harnessed in order for the strong brands to emerge out of the island. Pat Blackman’s collection was all about color and reminded us that the Caribbean is the home of color; this was a beautiful line.
Kimya Glasgow’s line was missed but she did an excellent job in choreographing the event and working with the models. We hear she is working on some big things for later this year and we look forward with eager anticipation.
The event was a great accomplishment and the support of the St. Vincent public for the event seems consistent. Image Model Management did an excellent job in developing these models who are all gracious and poised, and interacted well with the designers and media all weekend long. Fashion Caribbean broke some barriers in mixing culture with fashion, and shows the possibilities when done in a coordinated fashion, the event may need to go to two nights but the issue of cost will need to be weighed by the organizers before such a move is undertaken. However until next year…Fashion Caribbean 2011.