Thu | Apr 27, 2017

Blush - skirting the issue

Published:Monday | September 22, 2014 | 9:00 AM

Krysta Anderson, Lifestyle Writer

For Basillia Barnaby-Cuff, fashion is all about empowering women with elegance.

Blush skirts was born out of Barnaby-Cuff's frustration at being unable to find unique, modest, elegant and fashionable skirts.

Being Apostolic, fashion, especially at church, has always been a part of Barnaby-Cuff's life. "I have been drawing and sketching my own designs and having them made primarily for church. Then I branched off into outfits for other occasions, because it was a task to find modest attire that fit my style," the young designer explained to Flair.

Blush Skirts made its official debut two years ago on March 14, 2012. Thus far, fashionable women have been taking notice. "The brand is becoming more and more familiar not only in Jamaica, but overseas as well. Much of my time and effort have been put, not only into designing, but getting the brand out there."

She told Flair how through prayer, she came up with the name Blush. "Honestly, I prayed about a name for a while, and one day while driving to work, I heard 'BLUSH', and I added the 'skirts' to it. The name has really represented us, as we seek to boost the self-esteem of the women we cater to, oftentimes leaving them blushing," she remarked.

In the beginning, her greatest challenge was sourcing suitable raw material at an affordable price to keep down the price of her skirts. She notes that sometimes it is cheaper to buy different kinds of fabric overseas, however, the cost for clearing them at Customs is so much that it defeats the purpose and she is sometimes limited to the resources available in Jamaica.

"Catering to women and girls of all ages, shapes and sizes, there is a skirt for everyone. Blush-designed skirts are custom made, so we make skirts to the specific measurements of our customers. It may be cheaper to get similar ones elsewhere, but take it from someone who has worn skirts all their life, the quality and longevity are not comparable to Blush," she confessed.

With hopes of venturing into couture in the future, Barnaby-Cuff is focusing on launching her website which is currently under construction. Once it is up and running, they will be offering a combination of Chic BLUSH designs and ready-made skirts. There is also a fashion show in the works.

It cannot be easy for a full-time news reporter and freelance radio announcer at LOVE 101 FM to juggle her workload with a thriving business, but she makes it work through prioritising and time management. "I have been balancing several things since college, and I organise well and work efficiently under pressure." She added, "I make a concerted effort to make the time to pamper myself and do things I love, like watching television. I also have a very conscious husband who slows me down when I really need to stop and take a break."

According to Barnaby-Cuff, it helps to have a loving husband who not only supports her in all that she does, but also maintains that level of balance needed in her life. "Thank God for a very understanding and supportive husband. Brian has been with me since the inception of BLUSH skirts. With his help, I try to get things done, as much as is possible during the day. It is not always possible, but he and I ensure that date nights are materialised, even if it's dinner and a movie at home. We also make time for family as much as we can."

Her advice to aspiring designers, "Ensure that this is something you love and have a passion for - something you live and dream about. It takes a lot of hard work, time and support to make the dream work so as long as you are up to it, go for it. You may not see the fruits of your labour right away, as Rome wasn't built in a day, but the block by block which are laid through hard work and dedication, it will pay off."

If you are impressed with the skirts you see here, you can find them on Facebook at Blush Skirts, or on Instagram and Twitter @blushskirts, or email: blushskirts@gmail.com

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com