Fri | Dec 9, 2016

First Global offers TCM grant

Published:Monday | October 27, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Ayanna Dixon was ecstatic at winning the First Global Grant.
Dixon with two models showing her collection at last year's The Collection MoDa.
Dixon receiving her grand cheque from First Global's head of marketing, Peter Lindo.
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The fashion industry is a multibillion-dollar universe that is developing and expanding exponentially with the arrival of each new fashion season. Still, it is sometimes hard for budding designers to get the show on the road (or on the runway), so to speak, and often many find their dreams caving in under the pressures of reality. It's especially hard when that designer comes from a small island like Jamaica.

Support for local fashion designers is scant, especially if the designers are fledglings who are just starting out in the industry - the ones who need the support the most.

Since inception, The Collection MoDa (TCM) has sought to diversify and further bolster the fashion industry, not just in Jamaica but the Caribbean at large. One way in which the fashion showcase has undertaken this initiative is by focusing on promoting the business aspect of fashion in the region, and going even further to host a Business of Fashion seminar for emerging and existing designers to learn more about the craft. Another approach TCM has taken that is arguably more direct, is the offering of the First Global Bank MoDa Grant.

The grant was introduced last year in TCM's second staging. Ayanna Dixon and her ASD designs proved to be a cut above the rest and was able to produce the winning collection. According to Dixon, "Winning The First Global Moda Grant was a euphoric moment for me, and I am indeed grateful for this amazing initiative by First Global and The Collection MoDa team. It is always great to have someone/a company who will believe in your vision, work and business. Starting a fashion business has its own sets of challenges - one being the difficulty in getting the necessary venture or start-up capital, this initiative by First Global has opened doors for me and ASD and will provide many emerging designers an amazing stepping stone."

This year's competition is already off to a stiff start. "We received 89 submissions, and because of the strength of the entries, the judges decided to select a top 15 instead of a top five to move on to round two," TCM event director Kerry-Ann Clarke, revealed. This no doubt highlights the depth of the design talent that is present here in Jamaica and points to the limitless potential of the island's fashion industry.

In round two, the top 15 will be required to make a piece of clothing using unconventional material in a bid to assess their level of creativity and ingenuity which are two indispensable characteristics of a successful fashion designer. A Gleaner print is among the materials that the contestants will have to incorporate in their designs.

criteria revealed

A top three will be selected from the top 15 to move on to the final round. The winner will be announced on the night of the runway show on November 20.

The four judges are stylist and design guru Fidge Fletcher, who studied fashion design in Milan, TCM event director and fashion maven Kerry-Ann Clarke, creative consultant and designer Michelle Haynes, and First Global Bank's head of marketing, Peter Lindo.

First Global revealed their criteria for selecting the top three, stating, "All of the designers who have made the top 15 have made it because they are talented designers. What we want to find out is something about what drives them, how business focused they are, and how viable their ideas are for developing themselves as business people. FGB will be looking for things in the interview process that may not have been evident from their entry essays."

The designer who makes it to the top will receive a cash prize of $250K and two sewing machines from Singer along with mentorship and business development advisory services from the Jamaica Business Development Corporation and the Richard Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship - a total package valued at more than half a million dollars. The publicity surrounding the grant and its winner will also give the winner that extra oomph needed to really kick-start his/her career and, hopefully, inspire further investment in Jamaica's fashion future.