Fashion exchange - Belize makes Pulse plans, strong CFW expected
Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter
Kim Simplis-Barrow, wife of the Prime Minister of Belize, Dean Barrow, is not at Caribbean Fashionweek (CFW) this weekend just for enjoyment. Simplis-Barrow is hoping to learn lessons which she can use to improve the fashion industry in her country.
Speaking to The Gleaner during Thursday evening's CFW opening reception at the Spanish Court Hotel, New Kingston, a very bubbly Simplis-Barrow said she is pleased to be in Jamaica for CFW.
"It is an exciting time in our fashion and it is such a big thing in the Caribbean. I am excited to meet some of the designers and see how we in Belize can perhaps foster our fashion industry," she said.
Simplis-Barrow said Belize Fashion Week was held earlier this year, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. "It is a growing industry and we are just really starting to look at fashion as an industry. We are a little slow when it comes to that in the Caribbean, but we are putting our finger on the button and me being here is a step in the right direction I think," she said.
There is a collaboration with Jamaica in the offing, as Simplis-Barrow said "we will be partnering with Pulse. We just spoke with Kingsley Cooper and Romae Gordon in Belize and they had so much fun, so we are looking at partnering with Kingsley for our fashion show in Belize. We will be doing it probably in a year. One of the reasons we are here is to see what Kingsley is doing and to try to emulate what he is doing - and improve on it, of course".
Safia Cooper, director of Sales and Marketing at Pulse, is also excited about the work that will be done with Belize.
"We are looking forward to seeing stuff out of Belize because we (Pulse and the Belizean contingent) are looking to do some serious work together in bringing fashion there, similar to what we are doing in Jamaica with the Caribbean Model Search, and even Fashionweek. So you will see a strong influence from the Belizeans, " Cooper said.
"The synergy is there already. We just made a trip to Belize and we had a whole weekend hosted by them and we have been in talks. So when it does come to fruition we will share the news."
Kingsley Cooper was also in good spirits at the event and welcomed the designers, models and guests.
"It is always good to welcome our friends from far and wide and this is a special year for Africa," he said, noting that there will be designers from Ethiopia, Trinidad and Tobago, Bahamas, Zimbabwe, the United States of America and Venezuela.
Safia Cooper added that Fashionweek involves more than 40 designers, the shows started yesterday and will be closing tomorrow night. While there is to be a strong international presence, Cooper noted "it is a good mix of Jamaica to other regions; we are well represented".
Cooper added that she is especially excited about Kelly Rowland performing at tonight's show and noted that additional infrastructure has been put in place for the R&B singer's performance.
Tomorrow night's show will feature Sheila E, Ninja Man and Sizzla, which Cooper said will also add a lot to the event. Cooper said expectations are high.
"Fashion, fabulosity, stellar collections, strong robust entertainment that will deliver at a good value... It is our lucky 13 and we think it will probably be our biggest so far," Cooper told The Gleaner.