CFstyle Review: Caribbean Fashion Week 2011

The number one Caribbean fashion showcase got under way in Kingston, Jamaica on June 8th with private functions until June 10th, with the first runway show being held at the National Indoor Sports Center located at Independence Park.

Caribbean Fashion Week (CFW) is now in its 11th year, with changes being made to the concept and seating arrangements this year. The event got off to a shaky start with members of the media as well as other noted fashion insiders and guests.

The introduction of this year’s party bar, as well as the restrictions placed on patrons of this year’s event, did not go down well with many who have supported Pulse over the past eight to ten years of the CFW event, as further cash was necessary to purchase drinks despite having already purchased tickets prior to the function. Members of the media who were previously accustomed to freedom of movement and other privileges were subjected this year to work from a bird’s eye view in the bleachers or the tightly packed media pit area.

However, all new measures and organization issues aside, the show started with designs from Shaco who received a fitting response for what was presented.  Designs from Pheline (plus size collection) were also shown and the usual swimwear from Mushroom. Friday night’s showings were not as attention grabbing as expected on several occasions, however the night went to Milkaya Laijah as welll as designer Arlene Martin of Drenna Luna, who used Sea Island Cotton in the creation of her collection this year.

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Model Leah-Mari Guevara in a look from Mushroom

The night ended with performances from Reggae and Dancehall artiste Tanya Stephens and Mavado.

Night two was dubbed Caribbean Night and one designer that stole the show was Robert Young of THE CLOTH. The designers from Trinidad & Tobago certainly left their mark at CFW 2011. The domination with Zadd & Eastman followed by Meling and the previously mentioned Robert Young. Two of the islands’ top artistes, David Rudder and Machel Montano closed the show with concert-style performances that brought many back to the runway for a high-energy party.

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Above: Looks from Trinidadian designer Meiling Esau

As the designers stepped up their game on Night Two with noticeably better collections than Night One, it’s safe to say that Caribbean Fashion Week started on Saturday night rather than Friday night. Designs were also shown by Mission Catwalk winner Shenna Carby, whose designs were well received by those in attendance, with great commendation from Jamaica’s Film Commissioner Kim –Marie Spence who was seen ecstatically applauding the designer as she walked the runway. Night Two also went to Spoerry 1866 with the collection being shown for the first time in the Caribbean, made from 100% Sea Island Cotton.

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Above: Spoerry 1866

Also worthy of mention: Lisa Walton – a Jamaican designer now based in the United States, with a much improved aesthetic since her showing at last year’s CFW.

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Above: Looks from Lisa Walton’s collection

CFW’s third and final night was not as successful as the previous night. With many technical issues as well as a false start to the collections, Night Three got off to a worse start than that of Night One. However, the show progressed and the designers persevered. Night Three’s designers were also less impressive than previous nights. Noted designer Biggy showed a less than impressive collection; Mission Catwalk winner Shenna Carby’s collection from the night before far outdid that of the veteran designer. However, the night was salvaged by style diva Ashley Martin with her collection Attitude by Ashley Martin. Everything in this collection after the Victoria’s Secret moment was amazing beyond words.

The night ended with a less than impressive performance from dancehall icon Beenie Man, and daughter of reggae legend Bunny Wailer, Cen Cee Love. However the entertainment improved greatly with international star Joe, who brought the crowd to their feet with his international hits.

Caribbean Fashion Week 2011 ended with mixed reviews from patrons, who expressed their wishes for the format and concept of the previous years to be returned, as the event is sure to lose some of its following, which was evident this year with the many changes and empty runway seats.

Kemar Daswell would like to thank Maxine Allen and Robert Young [The Cloth] for providing clothing/styling for CFW 2011.

Pictures provided by Infuzion Inc. (Jamaica)

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