Three Jamaican Designers for London Fashion Week

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Three Jamaican Designers for London Fashion Week

A model shows off one of Arlene Martin’s designs

Three local designers will showcase their creations at the London Fashion Week being held from February 17 to 22 at Somerset House in Central London, England.

The Jamaicans, Sandra Kennedy and upcoming designers, Arlene Martin and Juliette Dyke, will join their Caribbean counterparts from Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados to showcase their work at one of the highest profile fashion events in the world.

London Fashion Week is one of the ‘big four’ international catwalk events at which leading industry professionals, top fashion journalists, and buyers come to view and purchase pieces. The event also attracts visitors from over 25 countries including the United States, France, Italy, Russia, Middle East, China and the United Arab Emirates.

The Caribbean contingent’s participation is possible through the sponsorship of Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA), with additional support provided for the Jamaican team by JAMPRO as part of its “Meet Jamaica 2012” promotion.

The designers will exhibit their pieces on Friday, February 17 under the title, “Jamaica, One People Emerging Talent Showcase.” This will be followed by a dinner on Sunday, February 19 at the Corinthia Hotel in London where Jamaican-born international singer and model, Grace Jones, will be honoured.

Participation in the London Fashion Week is part of the “Meet Jamaica 2012” initiative being spearheaded by JAMPRO and the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica. The concept evolved out of a desire to create a platform for Jamaican businesses to establish or enhance their presence in the UK market in the period leading up to the Olympic Games, in July to August, 2012.

Kim Marie Spence, JAMPRO’s Manager for the Creative Industries and Film Commissioner, said that the designers were chosen by a panel for their flair and marketability in the UK.

“This event will present real business opportunities for them and promote the Jamaican brand,” she said.

The Jamaican designers have expressed enthusiasm for being given the opportunity to participate in the event. Both Juliette and Arlene will be in London to personally showcase their pieces.

“I’m excited about this event and at being given the opportunity to show my pieces,” said Arlene, whose line is called Denna Luna.

A self-taught designer, Arlene took up the craft as a hobby in her late teens; and over the years, has honed her skills. She said her pieces are inspired from many avenues, from trimmings in stores to accessory pieces, or even random creative impulses.

She is a member of the Jamaica Fashion and Apparel Cluster and is a Managing Consultant and board member of the recently developed Caribbean Fashion Industry Forum.

For Juliette, being included in the event is like a dream come true. “It is an opportunity that I will make full use of,” said the Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts graduate. Having been noticed in the college’s annual Alternative Fashion Show, Juliette decided to launch her Julan Brand in December 2008. In April 2009 she was chosen to enter her designs in a fashion show in Brussels, Belgium;
and Caribbean Fashion Week that same year.

Sandra Kennedy is a leading Jamaican designer, best known for her “Chad” brand. Last year, she launched SK Collections, which was conceptualized with her mother, Yvonne Hayles. Sandra will display her high fashion line of clothing at London Fashion Week.

Kingsley Cooper, chairman of Pulse Entertainment Group Limited, is providing project management on behalf of CEDA. Mr. Cooper, who is also Chairman for Caribbean Fashion Industry Association, said the participation of the Caribbean designers in this august event will bring exposure to the region and expose the talent of the region’s designers.
“This exhibition is really about showing the fashion industry that we have design talent to compete in a global arena. The contribution which the islands can make to fashion has gone under the world’s fashion radar for too long,” said Mr. Cooper.
“We are delighted to be a part of London Fashion Week and as organizers of Caribbean Fashion week, we see this as a big step for Caribbean fashion, as we continue to develop our industry and position our designers to take their place on the world stage – our time is now,” he added.

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