Rich stories from The Cloth for 2015 CFW
Roots, revolution, restoration and resilience are words that Robert Young believes to be intrinsic to his design philosophy and development of The Cloth. This year, the designer celebrates 30 years at the helm, and will once again be among the region's best when he presents his distinctive line at the Pulse-produced fashion extravaganza in June - Caribbean Fashionweek.
Young is the son of a trade unionist father, and credit-union-founding mother who came to fashion via art. He often refers to himself as a fashion artist. However, there is always a message in his designs. It's a necessary element of his work. His growing up around trade-union activism influenced by both his mother and father, has imbued a sense of mission - that of making a statement, telling a story and bringing attention to subjects that are not always at the fore.
"Robert has chosen an excellent angle from which to create and share his art and fashion with the world. His clothes are serious, but there is quite a bit of fun in his dresses and skirts, and his clothes have a bright appeal for both men and women," says Pulse's fashion director, Romae Gordon.
For the past several years, Young has presented his collections at CFW in non-traditional ways. His The Spot collection at the event three years ago, had a 'Conscious Fashion' segment where models sporting distressed-looking faces walked the runway, then sat down on stools and scribbled messages about the issues they had with the world on the floor. According to Young, he wanted to convey a message of sourcing a place (The Spot) to think, recollect and makes notes and move forward. "We had dresses with big sleeves symbolising strength to save the world," he stated.
But his aesthetic is not only informed by consciousness. He has leaned on Carnival, literature, dance and steel pan music - he is, after all, a son of Trinidadian soil, and he is married to a musician. His 2014 collection reflected the varied and potent beauty of the environment of flora and fauna. The central signature and that which is the defining quality of The Cloth, is the ever-present appliques on his designs. And within these specialised imprints are stories.
The story of The Cloth continues at the 15th staging of CFW from June 6-15.
Caribbean Fashionweek 2015 will celebrate Total Fashion! incorporating spas, boutiques, restaurants, gyms and related lifestyle entities which all have a role in creating the complete fashion image. Scheduled for June 6-15, CFW has a full slate of activities - from a black-tie gala, on and off-site runway shows, after parties, a business forum, to a major concert performance by Britain's number-one black recording artiste who has sold over 30 million records, Billy Ocean. Several other activities across the city of Kingston will also be held. The Pulse-produced event is presented by Audi in association with Epson, Supreme Ventures, The Jamaica Tourist Board as well as other sponsors to be announced.