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Jamaican designers enjoy London Fashion Week

Published:Tuesday | February 21, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Pulse Vogue Model Alexia Palmer in Julan Rev. - Contributed

Jamaica's team of designers, models and organisers currently in London for Fashion Week got the seal of approval from Minister of Investment and Commerce Anthony Hylton prior to their departure last week when members of the group paid a courtesy call on him at the ministry.

The minister used the opportunity to re-emphasise the Government's support of Jamaica's creative industries. Jamaica, supported by JAMPRO, which falls under the minister's portfolio, is part of a wider Caribbean initiative aimed at moving the regional fashion industry forward by giving design talent an opportunity to participate in London Fashion Week.

The designers showed collections at a two-day exhibition in the Regency Room of the Charing Cross Hotel in central London, followed by an exclusive runway presentation at a private event for key international press, buyers, and celebrities held in the Northall restaurant at the Corinthia Hotel, also in central London.

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The wider Caribbean effort, funded by the European Union under the auspices of Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA), is managed by Pulse Investments Ltd, and included designers from Trinidad and Tobago (Meiling and KAJ), Haiti (Michel Chataigne, David Andre and Phyllicia Dell), Jamaica (Sandra Kennedy, Julan and Arlene Martin), Suriname (Atelier Dore) and Jamaica/UK (Gavin Douglas). So far, the response has been outstanding with important international press (including such publications as Vogue Italia, Glamour and the BBC) paying close attention.

The Caribbean presentation is currently featured on Vogue Italia's website and several interviews of regional participants have been broadcast by the BBC, as well as other radio and TV channels in Africa and Europe. Also, importantly, actual fashion buying is expected to result from the effort. The private presentation was attended by such luminaries as David Pun, head of international buying for Harvey Nichols as well as Stefan Siegal, director of purchasing at Not Just Another Label.

Kingsley Cooper, chairman of the Caribbean Fashion Industry Association and project manager of the event, speaking at the exhibition's opening night reception, made special mention of Pamela Coke-Hamilton, executive director of CEDA, whose strong support for the project made the initiative possible.

In a statement issued by CEDA, Coke-Hamilton said, "We see this initiative as the first part in a four-pronged process, which focuses on development, marketing and capacity building aimed at increasing international awareness and business generation for the region's fashion industry. This process will continue with Caribbean Fashionweek in June and the London 2012 Olympics in August."

Chris McNair of CEDA thanked the various participants for their contribution to the project and reiterated the organisation's commitment to a continuation of the effort at the other events targeted by his organisation this year.

Kim-Marie Spence of JAMPRO also expressed her organisation's support for fashion industry development.

The Jamaican team returns to the Caribbean this week.