Wed | Dec 11, 2019

Fashioning Feet by DAE

Published:Sunday | December 1, 2019 | 6:37 AMJessica Harrison - Gleaner Writer

Though many seemingly are venturing into the world of handmade sandals, Debra Edwards, creative director and founder of the DAE Collection brand, is doing so with a purpose.

Freshly launched on the local fashion scene and leaving a low carbon footprint, these sustainable sandals have been churning out a great deal of social-media buzz for obvious reasons. It’s goat skin made beautifully into classic styles suited for every woman!

Hailing from the hills of St Andrew, Edwards left for New York to pursue an education in mass communication, which led her to the world of lifestyle journalism and, of course, with the territory comes the sphere of fashion.

“The interest grew and before I knew it, I was doing fashion merchandising and personal styling. I then decided to do a stint at the Fashion Institute of Technology in business of styling,” she recalled.

That was seven years ago.

After noticing the growth of the Jamaican economy, she returned home and started sketching again in April 2019.

Currently, there are four different styles available for purchase with names that represent the essence of who Edwards is – love for people, family and travel. The names are: De La Vega, San Souci, Lady M and the latest addition, South Sound.

“De La Vega, Spanish Town is where my mother is from; San Souci speaks to my love for Portland and a section of Haiti; Lady M represents the fact that three of my first clients are on Lady Musgrave Road; and South Sound, is the name of a town in Cayman, where the majority of my family resides,” she explained.

The sandals are chic, urban, a little retro and come in various colours. No two DAEs are the same. The sandals are perfect for those who want to slip into something more comfortable than stilettos, while still maintaining elegance and also affords wearers the opportunity to sport a pair on casual occasions.

Not only is the brand paying close attention to the environment, it also embodies the vision of advancing Jamaica, as it provides jobs for local artisans.

“Being able to expand is very important to me. Since the inception, the cobbler I work with has been able to expand this shop and is better able to provide for his family,” she said.

Part proceeds will also be donated to various foundations across the island; an even greater reason to support Jamaican small businesses.

With every new venture, there are growing pains and Edwards has endured quite a few, but has not ceased to follow the road to her dreams.

“This is an online store and Jamaicans haven’t yet made the transition to online shopping. The sliding dollar is an issue, because if I should purchase materials overseas, I will be paying three times the amount when converted,” she revealed.

Edwards also expressed that though there are many fantastic artisans in Jamaica, it is hard to find people who catch the vision and are willing to work with the bigger picture.

Edwards, a natural born creative, hopes that in five years, as she evolves and becomes more inspired, DAE Collection, will become a household and international name, with an array of styles.

In closing, she did not hesitate to leave a message for fellow Jamaicans on the road to their dreams: “Don’t overthink it. Just do it. Had I thought too much and not executed, I would not have done it.”

To get your feet into a pair or two of these uber chic babies, follow DAE Collection on Instagram @dae.collection or visit the online shop at www.daecollection.com.

jessica.harrison@gleanerjm.com