Exclusive Interview – Kingsley Cooper: Caribbean Fashion Week 2010

Cfstyle.com has been able to secure an exclusive interview with Caribbean Fashion Week 2010 team. Set to take place from 10 – 13th in Jamaica this event is a staple in Caribbean Fashion. Kingsley Cooper Pulse CEO will be honored this weekend at Caribbean Fashion Rocks in Jamaica

Interview here:

1.  Tell us about the history of Caribbean Fashion week and your company’s involvement?

Established by Pulse Investments Ltd in 2001, Caribbean Fashionweek (CFW) is region’s largest, best produced, most recognized and internationally respected fashion event. It is organized and produced by Pulse Investments Ltd, an innovative entertainment company with over 30 years in the business of fashion, music and entertainment with the active participation and support of national and regional developmental organizations and sponsors.

Now celebrating its 10thyear, the idea for CFW was borne out of the desire to celebrate and promote our talented regional designers, models and fashion industry workers with the agenda to boost their visibility on the international stage. Its prominence and success has brought the region’s fashion industries together and has been the catalyst for fashion industry development in the Caribbean.

A truly pioneering event, CFW features the Caribbean’s best designers within the region, internationally famous (non-Caribbean) designers from around the world (Africa, Europe, North and South America, Central America and Asia) as well as world famous supermodels, celebrities etc.

The event has grown exponentially over time with each year considerably better than the one before. It holds standard to some of the major fashion weeks in the world and has attracted internationally recognized fashion and independent media including Vogue (UK, Fashion TV Paris, Associated Press, Black Entertainment Television (BET TV, Women’s Entertainment (WE TV),The New York Times, BBC Caribbean among others.

2)  When and where will fashion week be held this year?

CFW will be celebrated June 8-14, 2010 with nightly shows to be held on 10th-13th at the National Indoor Sports Centre in Kingston, Jamaica. In addition to the nightly shows, persons can attend various additional CFW related activities including daily business forums, press conferences and nightly after parties. An official schedule will be uploaded to our website www.caribbeanfashionweek.com  later this month.

3)  What is the theme for this year?

CFW will be celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and will pull together the best elements of the past nine years, with a few new ones added for good measure. Our objective is present an internationally regarded event that finely balances all the key components  – the collections, the entertainment, the supermodels, the production, the parties, the celebrities, networking  and most importantly, the business opportunities.

4)  What new features do you propose to have in Caribbean Fashion Week this year?

In addition to our ten year anniversary celebrations, CFW 2010 will also be a platform for the ‘Haiti Art and Fashion Project’. Launched by Pulse CEO Kingsley Cooper with the support of the Jamaican Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, The Honourable Olivia Grange; Mrs Sancia Bennett-Templer, President of the Jamaica Trade and Invest in February 2010, the Project will support the rehabilitation and further development of Haiti’s creative arts, fashion and business industries.

As a Caribbean based and organized initiative, the Project will focus on medium to long term reconstruction and development of Haiti’s creative arts and business sector and will be managed by the Pulse Foundation headed by Jamaican entrepreneur, Artist and Honorary Consular to Lithuania, Mrs. Lois Lake Sherwood. Mrs. Sherwood, who is of Haitian and Jamaican descent has chaired the Pulse Foundation since its inception six years ago and will work alongside the Board of Trustees which includes Mr. Jeffery Cobham and Ms. Myrtha Desulme as well as is expected to comprise of representatives of the Haitian government and members of its creative industries.

Mr. Cobham, a well known career banker, is a Director of a number of listed Jamaican companies. He is currently a member of the Board of the National Gallery of Jamaica and is Chairman of the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica and has previously served as Chairman of the Edna Manley College of the Visual & Performing Arts. Myrtha Desulme is President of the Haiti-Jamaica Society. She currently resides fulltime in Jamaica and is very vocal on social issues and liaisons surrounding her native country and Jamaica.

Supporting Mrs. Sherwood and the Board will also be the Caribbean Fashion Industry Association (CAFIA), a body of regional entities with membership in the French, Spanish, Dutch and English Caribbean aimed at unifying the regional fashion industry and aiding its development. Cooper, who is also the head of CAFIA, outlined that the Pulse Foundation intends to work in tandem with several regional organizations including Caricom as well as major international creative industry players and the official international body charged with the responsibility of planning the long term reconstruction of Haiti.

Caribbean Fashionweek (CFW), will make the Haiti Art and Fashion Project a key aspect of the event going forward and have pledged 100% of the proceeds of one night of shows and activities towards the Project.

Currently, the Project has garnered the endorsement of the Govt of Cuba, the Govt of Haiti and most recently CARICOM.

5)  What is the process for designers who would like to show their pieces at CFW this year?

Designers can register through our website www.caribbeanfashionweek.com. After registering with the site, they will be guided accordingly.

6)  Is there a registration fee? If so, how much?

Yes there is a non refundable registration fee of US$750.

7)  Can only Caribbean designers participate?

CFW is not limited to showcasing only Caribbean designers. Over the past ten years, CFW has welcomed an array of international designers from various continents including Europe, Asia and Africa such as Deola Sagoe (Nigeria), Catalin Botezatu (Romania), Jennivi Jordan (UK), Lois Samuels (US), Sushma Patel (India), Jessica Ogden (UK) ,Lois Samuels (US) Romero Bryan (UK), Nkwo (Africa), Nana Boteng (US/Africa), Courtney Washington (US), Gavin Douglas (UK), most of whom have shown at the major collections in New York ,London, Paris and Milan.

8)  Will there be any celebrities this year?

Yes, Celebrities have become a welcomed addition at CFW and we will certainly expect some stars, including our world rated supermodels present to ring in our tenth anniversary. Previous celebrities have included Nia Long (Actress), Kelly Rowland (Singer), Eve (Rapper), Vanessa Williams (Actress), Lee Scratch Perry (International Music Producer) among others.

9)  Give us an idea of what’s on the schedule this year

Schedule will be uploaded to website shortly.

10)  Besides exposure, what benefits do designers who showcase at CFW receive?

CFW is also an event with a clear business agenda. The event fosters direct interaction with designers and industry insiders i.e. .buyers, raw material producers, manufactures etc.

One cannot also discount the significant international exposure that CFW yields for designers. With media representation from veritable international press, CFW coverage spans across the Caribbean Sea to Europe (Vogue UK, Fashion TV Paris) and to the shores of Africa (Oh Yes Magazine). The coverage is vast and significantly boosts the portfolios of the designers as well as the models who participate in the event.

11)  Typically how many media houses are normally present at CFW?

CFW is covered by major main stream press each year – the BBC and Associated Press were just two of the 200 plus media houses in attendance in 2009. In addition, it has also been heralded by Vogue UK, Fashion TV Paris, WE TV, BET TV, Associated Press, The New York Times, BBC Caribbean, New York Carib News, Time Out London etc. CFW has been taken to over 300 million households around the world by Fashion TV Paris and British Vogue once described the event as representative of an important new trend in world fashion. There is also strong support from regional press including representation from regional press originating from Barbados, St Lucia, Trinidad, Guadeloupe, Bahamas, St. Vincent and The Grenadines etc.

12)  Are there going to be buyers at CFW? If so what companies do they represent?

Yes Buyers will be present at CFW with a solid mix of local, regional and international representatives.

In addition to attending the events to preview the collections, Buyers are also introduced directly to Designers via our Buyers Forum which fosters key business opportunities.

13)  CFW is legendary for its late event start, what plan is being put in place to address that issue this year?

I would not say that we are legendary for our ‘late start’ but as is with all productions, you strive to present the best and sometimes the finishing touch calls for an extra minute or so. However, it is safe to say that once the shows are underway, they are tight, well coordinated and highly entertaining.

Also enhancing the CFW experience are the sponsor and designer booths which patrons are invited to browse at leisure before the shows and during scheduled intermissions.

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