Dancehall halo over Forde's night angels
Janelle 'Jin' Forde, a young Barbadian/Trinidadian designer, won over the hearts of those keeping a keen eye on the costumes at the Xodus Carnival band launch last Saturday. While the main sections of the band's League of Angels its overall theme brought the classic colourful two-piece or monokini-type costumes with flamboyant feathers and fluff, Forde deviated from the norm with a playful set in black labelled Noir: Angel of the Night.
"When the promoters informed me of the theme it was so expected to be very feminine or pretty, with colours like white, gold, pink, and so on. But my first instinct was to do what is not of the norm," Forde told The Gleaner while backstage at the Pearly Gates (as the Ranny Williams Centre, 36 Hope Road, was dubbed for the Xodus launch).
Forde said the title League of Angles was impressive, but she couldn't follow the girly appeal. Instead, she chose to go against the stereotype - hence the choice of black and he thought-provoking tagline, Angel of the Night.
Noir stood out with its risque black leatherette design, accentuated with gun metal details. It was apparent from Leah Marville, Miss Barbados 2009 stepped on the stage that the costume was inspired by dancehall culture.
"I have never been to Carnival in Jamaica but depend on people for the themes or to draw inspiration from. For this it was angels and, especially with the island's vast culture, I used it to think of something else. After that, the process was just to choose between a mixture of silhouettes and fabrics to bring across the theme," Forde added.
Unlike the other designers who did a brief strut on stage alongside the very fit ladies with carnival-ready bodies modelling their costumes, Forde peeped from the wings "We were all so nervous because the design was so far left from everybody else's and I am also usually very shy," Forde said.
Even after the audience's obvious approval, Forde does not know what to expect, This us despite being a seasoned co-ordinator in Barbados, where she has been involved in the Crop Over preparations, lead-up events as well as owns her own section in popular band Baje International.
"I can only hope Jamaica will love us like how we love Jamaica and that's it," she said.
The Angel of the Night costumes have three variations, two of which are bikinis, and the other a full piece with lace-up front. They are all the more dramatic when worn with fishnets. The prices range from US$485 to a little over US$700.
Forde started her professional career in fashion design in 2012, after perfecting her skills at London College of Fashion and Central Saint Martins in the United Kingdom. The same year Forde participated in Mission Catwalk in Jamaica. She earned a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Sociology, with a minor in International Relations. and a Master of Science (MSc) in Development Statistics from the University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine