The island of Jamaica is not to be out-done in the world of fashion as it is one of the Caribbean’s Mecca’s of style with many international fashion houses visiting its shores to shop for local models as well as the hosting of large scale fashion events such as Caribbean Fashion Week, Style Week, Jamaica and Ocean Style Magazine fashion showcase to name a few. Jamaica is indeed on the path of becoming a central hub for fashion in the Caribbean.
The fashion industry is often seen as just glitz and glamour while many underestimate the business aspect of fashion. From the buyers to the sellers, the models, managers and scouts millions are invested in the production of fashion shows and garments. Many who knock the fashion industry are sometimes its greatest supporters just by being mere consumers, buying the garments made. The Jamaican fashion industry, like that of others around the world, seeks to show the business aspect of the industry and its most recent attempt is with the production of a new television reality show titled ‘MISSION CATWALK’.
Mission Catwalk is to be aired on local television in Jamaica; the series is a spin off from the popular Project Runway aired on international television. The TV series is aimed at discovering and showcasing talented, local Jamaican fashion designers for the international market. It is also the production team’s intention to highlight the wealth of creativity in Jamaica and nurture the talents of the contestants through numerous challenges and exercises geared at identifying and honing a range of creative skills and abilities. The show was shot on location at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, in its new Fashion Department. The series host is Keneea Linton George and judges Carlton Brown and the Jamaica Observer’s Novia McDonald-Whyte. The host Mrs Linton George is also the show’s executive producer. The show’s contestants range from all walks of life with contestants from the posh Cherry Gardens community to the concrete jungles of Denham Town.
The concept of the show is the same as that of project runway and the prizes are similar for the thirteen contestants with prize packages worth millions which includes showing a collection in the prestigious Miami Fashion Week. The show although not originated in Jamaica or the Caribbean the feel of the Caribbean is not felt in the show or the fact we are not indeed watching Project Runway, the production of the show must be given its credit with great editing and directing from its director Mykal Cushnie. One should not knock the efforts of the upcoming series since it is adding value to local television.
However the argument of cultural identity within the project and making the series a bit more Caribbean or Jamaican, without overpowering the idea of it being in Jamaica needs to be explored more fully. However the public response has been great thus far and we will continue to observe how the public will receive this new reality television in the final analysis.