Ellsworth Myrie: Making everything fit
Essential services are seen as those that are necessary for the safety and proper functioning of a society. In a world where the human body evokes different emotions and actions, it would be somewhat chaotic if persons were to walk around daily showcasing both their 'perfect' and not-so-perfect body types. Wouldn't it then be safe to say the provision of clothes to cover and complement the curves and treasures of the body is in fact an essential service?
As a tailor, Ellsworth Myrie is therefore an essential service provider. Even though he is not bound by the Government to carry out his tasks, he still takes his job very seriously. He is on a mission to provide affordable yet stylish and, in some cases, original pieces, fit for all body types to persons from all walks of life.
Born and bred in downtown Kingston, Myrie comes from a long line of service providers. Both his parents dedicated their lives to the profession, and he grew to appreciate and love it after watching them perform the labour of love day after day to provide for his household.
But Myrie did not always want to follow in his parents' footsteps. He had dreams of becoming a carpenter. However, he realised that he was destined for another calling at age 14, when he made his first pair of pants. He beamed as he boasted that he showed everybody he came in contact with, and somehow managed to put it into every conversation. It was also important to note that it had been approved by the experts - his parents.
After his first piece, Myrie lost all his free time - summer and Christmas breaks. He was now indoctrinated into the profession, and destined to carry on the family trade. "You know as [a] youth, you would want to go out and party? No, I couldn't do that," he chuckled. "My father would just cut a pants and say finish it," he told Flair.
Myrie admitted to concerns of the trade dying some years ago, with the increase in imports of cheap clothing. He, however, found a way to reinvent himself as he was still passionate about his craft, and he also had to find a way to provide for his family.
He said that the hike in online shopping and even the good old practice of persons sending barrels come with an increase in alterations. With the different body types and brands, persons often need to make adjustments, and so he can fix whatever hits his table in a matter of minutes.
With no formal training, Myrie has built a name for himself - one of dependability and quality in his community and beyond. He is confident that his work speaks volumes, as he gets customers from all over Jamaica. He has won the hearts and continued businesses of brides after delivering masterpiece suit for grooms and their groomsmen. He is also on the payroll of several parents who take pride in their children looking their best going to school.
While sharing the list of garments he can make, (which include swimsuits, dresses and jackets) a returning customer intervened and said "show him what you want and he will make it".
Though committed to his roots, Myrie is not dismissive of the idea of setting up shop outside the inner city. He is quite firm that he will not lose his down-to-earth sense of self, but admits that it would make good business sense to spread his wings. His current space is not conducive to getting the well-needed help, limiting his production as well as sharing his knowledge with youths around him.
Myrie is serious about recruiting others to his trade, and he aims to grow to the point where he can own a garment factory to give back to his community and arm the next generation of youth with a skill that will improve their lives.