Jamaica’s Style Week In London Fashion Week 2012

by Laura Chapman

It has been a tremendous year for Jamaica that is celebrating its 50th anniversary of independence from Britain.

Usain Bolt maintained his title as the fastest man alive and set a new world recording securing Jamaica’s prominence as the birthplace of astounding talent and providing the country with worldwide recognition.

This almighty year for Jamaica has done wonders for the economy and helped lesser well known entities within the country such as its fashion rise to fame on the back of Jamaica’s renowned sporting success.

Jamaica in London

This year’s annual Jamaican style week has been a tremendous success and Jamaica has further extended its fashion credentials by making an appearance at London Fashion week to coincide with the Olympics.

They have made the bold move of having the athletes endorses their clothing providing a perfect synergy between the multibillion dollar business that is fashion and the relentless success of the countries athletes.

The likes of Bolt amidst Jamaica’s other Olympic athletes acted as fashion ambassadors throughout the Olympic season provoking more interest than ever before in London Consumers that drove fashionistas and buyers alike to witness the catwalk at LFW and even make the trip to Jamaica to experience the fashion in its natural habitat.

Romae Gordon is the fashion director at Pulse Investments Limited, the producers of Caribbean style week which are also the project managers of the Caribbean collections at London Fashion Week.

With support from Jampro (Jamaica Promotions) and CEDA (The Caribbean Export Development Agency), Gordon was able to assist generating the funding and interest to take Caribbean fashion across the nation.

This is exceptionally imperative to the success of the countries fashion, as interest from international buyers sought at fashion events such as LFW is what will take the countries unique style to the next level.

Gordon commented that upon trawling the streets of London she observed many interesting styles and designs that sat perfectly, yet uniquely amidst the backdrop of the hustle and bustle of London yet she felt Jamaica’s vibrancy and energy, which is intrinsic to their designs, could nestle snugly in the middle of the cities haute couture without anyone turning a blind eye to the garments heritage.

Jamaica, over recent decades, has become just as Avant Garde
and edgy as any of the world’s capitals of design.

Caribbean Designers

Kevin O’Brian, who presented his collection at this year’s Jamaica style week, sent models down the catwalk wearing voluptuous structural ensembles that contradicted their frail, elegant frames with boxy outer wear.

Their slender figures were also elongated further with brightly coloured headdresses and masks that often covered the entirety of their faces leaving only a small slit for them to see out of.

The appendage-like head gear somewhat resembled a nomadic shelter in several cases through its structure, yet ironically, the sunset colourations of the items were completely paradoxical to its primal configuration.

The introduction of a luminescent colour scheme makes the entirety of the collection echo a sunset, adding an essence of simplicity and natural beauty to the homelands collection that provides insight into what Jamaican fashion is all about.

Donna Shamir is another designer that graces the catwalk with her presence; this time however her swimwear collection hugs the body scrupulously in a skin tight manner opposed to the loose androgynous designs of O’Brian.

Shamir celebrates the female form with her revealing lingerie-like embellishments that add a hint of promiscuity to the seductive collection.

Geometric structural introductions of colour that occasionally seem to pay homage to the country’s flag are introduced sparingly and seem to be a trend among this season’s attire.

Her necklines skim ever lower as Shamir’s models parade along the catwalk and the cut of her briefs is ever higher accentuating the Jamaican women’s natural shape. Unlike many of the designers, Shamir seems not to just make use of stick thin models to advertise her collection, but has the odd model with a more natural, average, body shape.

She seems to convey through this statement that the (almost) naked body should be appreciated for what it is, and the Jamaican norm is to possess a curvaceous posterior.

Her designs are also often primarily white with bursts of colour; the whiteness contradicts the dark complexion of the models, emphasising their ebony appearance – once again celebrating Jamaica’s natural beauty.

Jamaica’s designs are stereotypically big on colour, big on flesh and emphasize the natural form of a woman through brightly coloured geometric designs that symbolize the peace and tranquility of the land.

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