Fashion frolic with Heather Laine Designs
Zoe Heather Summers and Sharon Elaine Peart-Neita believe clothes are nothing without someone wearing it.
This week's Fashion Frolic takes you behind the scenes of another Jamaican designer - Heather Laine designs.
Peart-Neita and Summers told Flair they met when they both lived in Mandeville and used to attend parties together. What started out as a costume jewellery business, evolved into their passion for fashion and they haven't looked back since.
In the early 1990s, their designs were sold from an overseas boutique called 'Elan'. Due to the harsh economic climate,. the two wanted to be more creative and unique to give customers more bang for their buck. "Our customers loved them and wanted more," She noted.
Summers said that it was in 1992 that she became conscious about what she was wearing and what other people around were wearing. Did it look comfortable? Was it enhancing or flattering?'
Summers attended the University of the West Indies and got a job as the head of the Economics Department at the Sugar Industry Research Institute. During that time, her passion for fashion gradually grew. "I absolutely loved it. I couldn't imagine doing anything else now," she told Flair.
Heather Laine Designs creative inspirations are their customers, the average woman who walks through the door. "We found the average woman wanted something flowy but sexy, comfortable but elegant, affordable but of good quality, and the list goes on. We listen to their needs," the fasionistas noted.
The most successful moment in the industry for Heather Laine was being awarded by JAMPRO in January 2014 as New Market Pioneer under their Export Max Programme.
"We went out to an event and Heather Laine was well represented by the number of persons wearing our clothes. We also feel great about the staff who we have seen grow over the years both professionally and personally," Summer confirmed. Summer lives by the mantra 'I will do it even better the next time'.
Zoe and Sharon
1. How would you describe your sense of style?
Zoe: Chic but comfortable. I must feel like I could have a good time.
Sharon: Simple and elegant. I dress according to my mood - sometimes hip and funky, sometimes easy breezy. I love natural fabrics and you'll always find me in chunky jewellery and flat sandals.
2. How would you describe your sense of design style?
Zoe: It's all about the 'person wearing the outfit'. What does she want to show or camouflage? How does she want to feel wearing Heather Laine? Where is she going, what's her lifestyle? It's all about living and feeling great. We design to achieve just that.
Sharon: We think of the Jamaican woman first - sexy, classy, comfortable and confident; and those elements are always in our designs.
3. What is your most important rule of fashion?
Zoe: Dress for you ... Only if it makes you feel good.
Sharon: The most important rule is what works best for the customer, and her personal trend.
4. What is your favourite design or collection to date
Zoe: Christmas 2015 was my favourite collection to date. It's always your last collection because you keep growing and learning
and understanding your customers. We started late, so had to get it done very quickly. The customers loved it.
Sharon: They are all favourites for one reason or another, but I loved our Christmas 2015 collection because creating it was fun, the fabrics and colours were fabulous, the models loved them and our customers were very satisfied.
5. What advice would you
give to young passionate
designers who might be faced with challenges?
Zoe: First, you must understand it's about the person who will wear the clothes. You are just the 'means' to that outcome. If you can have a happy customer, you will survive. It may not happen overnight ... . You must have patience. You have to work hard. You must keep putting back what you earn in the business to achieve growth.
Sharon: Pay attention to the quality of your finished product and the efficiency of your operation. Be passionate about your craft, work very hard and you will succeed.
Heather Laine Limited
Zoe Heather Summers and
Sharon Elaine Peart-Neita
10 Lancaster Road,