Uzuri International pageant couture
There was no doubt about the beauty that graced the stage at the Miss Universe Jamaica (MUJ) grand coronation recently, as detailed cuts hugged the bodies of the 18 gorgeous finalists.
MUJ franchise holders Mark McDermoth and Karl Williams, who are also the co-owners and designers of the couture fashion house Uzuri International, acquired the franchise in 2013. Their aim was to make a more meaningful contribution, to the pageant landscape by changing some of the negative stereotypes associated with the local competition while adding their strong fashion sense to the mix.
This year was no different, as McDermoth and Williams clothed the contestants in beautiful designs that left the audience in awe.
The first collection to hit the stage - Angel's Heart - was designed over the past six months to embrace Uzuri's support for the Hope Zoo and its 'izoocycle' programme.
The exciting alliance inspired a collection of high-fashion pieces that were up for sale at the final show and on the Uzuri International and Dermoth Williams websites. Fifty per cent of the sales will go towards the children's welfare in the izoocycle programme.
"We were thinking of something angelic, with all the chiffon fabric that is cool for our climate and textures flowing with the wind. Really giving back with the heart of an angel. Miss Universe Jamaica is beauty, fashion and wellness, and Mark and I thought it would be perfect and fitting for the fashion aspect of the show," Williams, the artistic director, told Outlook.
The evening gowns were elegant with a number of detailed, intricate designs.
"We have been working on some of these gowns for maybe two years because of the detailed beading. Some of them, the fabric is so heavily beaded we had to sew them by hand. It took a lot of creativity for the fabrics, and our minds had to create different silhouettes and styles to suit 18 different personalities with different skin textures and body shapes," Williams explained.
Managing the two brands is a lot of work, but the men admit that their love for their job allows them to enjoy it and not see it as work.
Here are the top 10 in the gorgeous designs.