Ashley Martin takes art to fashion
Annually, The Saint International Avant Garde Designer of the Year contest seeks to inspire and reward a Jamaican designer whose creative vision extends beyond the boundaries of the ordinary. At this year's staging on the East Lawns of Devon House, the winning piece 'Shape Of Glass' was a creation that took the Avant Garde theme to new heights.
The designer was Ashley Martin, former front woman for Byron Lee and the Dragonnaires.
"Over the years of staging this competition, it's one of the most exciting pieces," said Deiwght Peters, creator of the contest now in its eighth year.
Martin said she was overwhelmed by her victory as she spent days and sleepless nights to execute this vision.
Appleton Genesis provided a cash prize of $75,000 which the designer will share with the model.
The judging panel included J. Wray and Nephew executive Raihn Sibblies and an international group representing some of the world's top fashion agencies such as IMG, WOMEN, Wilhelmina and MUSE Models.
The Sunday Gleaner had a chat recently with this year's Avant Garde winner, Ashley Martin.
Q: How does it feel to be Jamaica's 2011 Avant Garde Designer Of The Year?
A: I feel humbled and still embracing the win. It's vindication for all the hard work put into this piece. I'm truly appreciative of the honour.
What was the inspiration for your winning entry 'The Shape Of Glass'?
A: I was inspired by myself. It's a mirror of who I am. Literally translated - the new age of fashion, cutting edge and bold.
How did art influence the creation of the glass dress and the final piece?
I'm a multifaceted artist and as such I wanted to go above and beyond the norm, so I've gone on a path that has never been taken before. The shape and materials used and the execution of putting the form together is an intensely artistic process.
How long did it take you to make the dress?
One week, working night and day from conceptualisation to reality.
What's next for Ashley Martin?
I'm currently working on my website for my clothing line 'Attitude by Ashley Martin', and busy preparing for Style Week (May 26-29). I'm also looking forward to working closely with Saint to push the international ambitions that Mr Peters has for Jamaican designers. I hope to win international awards and dress Hollywood icons.