MARKETING and video production company, KTL Group Limited, is best known for its most recognisable product: Mission Catwalk. And behind it all is fashion designer/TV producer Keneea Linton-George. Making her name first as a fashion designer, she chose the career during tertiary studies. A friend advised her to do something she would really enjoy.
"This led my entrepreneurial venture, while at the University of the West Indies and collaboration with Pulse’s Caribbean Model Search elimination, I had to fill in for a no-show designer using pieces I had made for friends and myself as a hobby," she explained. Pulse boss Kingsley Cooper later invited her to show at Caribbean FashionWeek and dress the then Miss Jamaica Universe.
"After seeing the press features and receiving copies of international magazine features in the mail, I figured, 'this could be it'." It can be difficult for a young designer to break into the industry, but Linton-George said the response was great.
She spent almost a year in New York trying to 'make it' but it was difficult with so many emerging designers.
"The international fashion industry can be 'cut throat' without the right connections. The key is to get the right foundation; training and internship," she said. Mission Catwalk has undoubtedly taken off but there were many behind-the-scene challenges early on.
"The major challenge was budget. It is difficult to get the kind of sponsorship needed to fund a reality show production in a market like Jamaica and getting corporate 'buy-in' for a pilot season is beyond difficult," she said. It was either scrap the production or borrow money to fund it.
"We believed in the show and took the risk knowing that once the show was produced, corporate Jamaica would see the potential marketing value," she said. Subsequently, the season-two winner, Gregory Williams, has returned from a course in Paris and is now at the London College of Fashion. Meanwhile, season three is in the pre-production stage with auditions in December. Applicants are coming in from across the Caribbean and as far as Africa.
"Season three will still focus on designers from the Caribbean islands and we hope to cast the right balance of talent and personality to keep viewers excited about the show."