Krysta Anderson, Gleaner Writer
"Fashion took me over and we just blend so well." These are the words of young Jamaican designer Phyllita Duffus, who has embarked on an amazing journey with her Kimandamisses line of corporate wear.
Speaking to the Flair Magazine, Duffus revealed that fashion was not her first love. "I have always wanted to pursue a career in pathology and I will be in a few years," she told Flair. She never pursued studies in fashion designing, as it was something that came to her naturally. For now, she takes a pragmatic approach with the hope of studying it in the future.
Born in St Catherine, she spent a few years in the Sunshine City of Portmore before moving to and settling in Old Harbour. Attending St Hugh's High School for Girls in Kingston, she described her experience there as multidimensional, as it was there that she learned both educational and life lessons.
But it was her family, she pointed out, who played a crucial role in molding her into the woman she is today, especially her aunt, who she says contributed to her being a classy woman, "It's my family and very close friends who have been the driving force behind me, especially now," added Duffus.
The name of her brand came about from the joining of her middle names, Kimberly and Amanda, and has been the direct product of hard work and dedication. In creating her line, Duffus wanted one that would redefine the modern 'corporate' woman. "Work wear is probably if not the most consistent piece of clothing one wears. And when one dresses well, that's inspiration enough to get out there and get the job at hand done," Duffus explained.
display of confidence
Her vision for this line has always been to have a leading brand for women who want to display confidence, and distinguish themselves from the ordinary and the mundane stereotype image of the corporate woman.
"Coming up with the different designs has always been the hardest part, but as soon as I start the execution, everything falls into place. So, for me, the thought process goes hand in hand with actual actions."
Her future looks bright, with dreams of taking on the international market and, of course, she is currently looking forward to getting a few more local and international stores to house her pieces. "Shhh Boutique at Lee Gore Business Center is first on board to do so," she revealed.
So far, her confidence has been boosted by the reaction she has received for her line. "I am pleased that everyone tells me right off the bat that I'm unparalleled. Most of all, I'm proud of me, for slowly making my visions a reality."
With some of her other passions, including decorating and visiting new and interesting places, she has some words of advice for aspiring fashion designers and entrepreneurs, "Be yourself and think for yourself. Never try to duplicate others. In that sense, maximise what is given to you by the universe. Live good, do good and good things will follow. My most fulfilling moment is yet to come. I remain hungry and eager for that day. Till then, I continue to work hard towards it."