Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Uzuri marks CFW’s milestone with ‘The Journey’

Published:Sunday | August 23, 2015 | 8:00 AMKrysta Anderson
Fashion designers Karl Williams (left) and Mark McDermoth.
@Normal:Uzuri
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Irish poet George Moore once said, "A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it. Art must be parochial in the beginning to be cosmopolitan in the end." No one can relate to this more than co-designers Karl Williams and Mark McDermoth, both of whom have taken their world travels to influence their unique fashion lines.

In the recent staging of Caribbean Fashionweek, Pulse celebrated their 15th anniversary with Total Fashion. Veteran Uzuri was more than happy to share in the special occasion, having participated in the fashion showcase since inception.

Outlook caught up with design partners to take a stroll down memory lane to find out where working with Pulse all began as well as to find out more about the magic behind their 2015 fashion line, The Journey.

The line at Caribbean Fashionweek 2015, they said, was totally inspired by their travels throughout their lives and the countries and cultures that impacted them the most. These include: Europe, Africa and Siberia.

"Interestingly, we are both fond of the colour green and we thought we would bring it to the collection based on an experience we had in Europe. We were both travelling from Italy to Germany by train through Switzerland and remember waking up one morning along the Rhine to this incredible green on the hillside and these majestic castles that took your breath away. We have never ever seen a green in nature so intense and it made quite an impression. We had subtle African silhouettes and colours reminding us of our annual trips to Nigeria. Then we gave an ode to Siberia because of the powerful emotions that country evoked. Here and there, of course, there were accents of other nations and cultures played out largely on colourful palettes and representing very colourful lives lived." McDermoth explained.

They two were excited to be a part of this unique fashion showcase because they believe in the fashion dream and felt it was a very important to celebrate such a wonderful milestone for Kingsley and his team. There, not just from inception of CFW, but from Pulse's formative years, outfitting their fashion luminaries such as Angela Neil, Erica Aquart, and Lois Samuels, they highlighted that the organisers were also interested in having them back and all it took was a conference call for the travellers to organise logistics, with one added bonus that the reigning Miss Universe Jamaica 2014 Kaci Fenell would model for their collection, exclusively.

Uzuri is a Swahilli word meaning beauty and what a beautiful line they presented! They started off the line just peachy with Kaci Fennel in a peach ensemble. From then on, it was sheer extravagance, as they played with variations of colours and textures, all in the name of fabulous fashion. Stepping outside of the box with their designs this time around, they shifted from cut-outs to explore a more elegant look. Here was their take on how they made this stylish transition. "We have always tipped the scale on elegance and abundance, as we feel this is our true hallmark and believe it or not is what our clients come to us for. But when you showcase on stage, you must have sensationalism, theatrics and a high degree of so that is really where our cut outs came from. Check any international runway show featuring couture, luxury or high end fashions in Paris, Milan, South Africa or Tokyo and see those same garments in the designers' showrooms and you'll see what we're talking about. Also, we think the hallmark of great branding is that you are recognised by your particular style. Now, can we mix it up? Absolutely!" they remarked.

The response to the line, they say, has been overwhelming. Most of their clients felt that they had shied a bit away from our norm, which again, they feel spoke a great deal to their diversity and ability to still stay relevant after being in the business for thirty years! So, look out for even greater things to come from Uzuri.

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com