Keneea Linton-George, sophistication personified
At nine years old, Keneea Linton-George was using the discarded legs of her mother's jeans pants to fashion her own skirt. Today, she is a renowned designer and the owner of Keneea Linton Boutique.
Growing up, fashion designing was not in the cards for Linton-George. She told Flair: "I wanted to be an actress, a bank manager or hotel manager - never a designer."
But fate had other plans. "While studying philosophy at UWI (University of the West Indies), I was doing fashion on the side and it picked up."
Today, chic, sophisticated, elegant designs distinguished by soft, feminine silhouettes are the trademark for of Linton-George's pieces whose designs are about 80 per cent a reflection of who she is. That is simply because, "When I started designing, I designed mostly for myself."
Today, she has achieved her objective of making women who wear her designs feel, classy, elegant, powerful, and sophisticated - full of confidence, beautiful and elegant. As she put it, "elegance never goes out of style."
While some persons consider fashion to be superficial, Linton-George sees it as a necessity. "Whether you are rich or poor, when you wake up in the morning, you are thinking about what you are going to wear. It (fashion) says a lot about you including your mood and aspirations."
A reflective Linton-George considered her journey in the fashion industry thus far.
"Now 13 years in the business, I have grown and learnt a lot, and I still have a lot of growing to do. And, I'm trying to mentor more young designers."
One young designer she has inspired is Sheena Carby, winner of Season One of Mission Catwalk (Linton-George's televised fashion competition, similar to Project Runway).
Carby told Flair that for her, Linton-George is more of a role model and a mentor. "She brought out a side of me I didn't know I had. When I started, my designs were purely dancehall and 'costumey'. She helped me tone that down and showed me how to control my versatility. She is the one who taught me about fabric, and how to choose quality fabrics."
Today, Carby can count Lisa Hanna and Ann-Marie Vaz among her loyal customers.
Linton-George's passion is inspiring the next generation of designers. As she tells it, she sees it as her duty because, "When I started there wasn't any guidance. I saw a need to grow the industry to be vibrant and you can impact people's lives, and they won't be taking away your customer base or business from you. Everyone has their space and their own clientele."
Linton-George is currently getting ready to launch Season Six of Mission Catwalk in September, after taking some time off after the death of her husband, CEO of Supreme Ventures Brian George. "Life is so unpredictable. I'm spending more time with my family, creating memories and trying to enjoy life since my husband passed."
She is also making a documentary about her husband's life, and establishing a scholarship for boys through his foundation.