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VIDEO: CFW gets thumbs up

BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Observer senior reporter
johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Organisers of Caribbean Fashionweek (CFW) are claiming success with this year's staging, which closed at Villa Ronai in St Andrew on Sunday night.

The event, which was cancelled last year, was given a much-needed shot in the arm by Pulse with the incorporation of African designers, alongside their Caribbean counterparts.

A total of nine collections were sent down the runway set amidst the lush tropical rainforest of the property located in the hills of St Andrew. This comprised Earl “Biggy” Turner, Uzuri International and Hope Wade from Jamaica; three Trinidadians in The Cloth, Claudia Pegus and Meiling; and three visiting Nigerians — Mai Atafo, Tokyo James and Ituen Basi.

The collections were varied in their themes and execution ranging from the dancehall base of Biggy to the structured, sophisticated lines of Mai Atafo. In-between, there were the glitzy gowns of Uzuri, the essence of Caribbean cool by The Cloth, couture from Claudia Pegus, sporty chic by Tokyo James, a nod to Africa from Hope Wade, the less-is-more by Meiling, and African culture and tradition by Ituen Basi.

For Pulse chairman and event conceptualiser, Kingsley Cooper, this year's event represents the start of something new as the company pushes its global initiative to explore the creative talents of Africa and share with the rest of the world. He was also pleased with how it all came together.

“It's one of those really good experiences. You have an idea and you work hard and put it together, and you think it really had some special ingredients to make it work and it actually does work ... this is one of them... Everything from the collections to the collaborations, the fit between Africa and the Caribbean. There are always a few things we want to tweak, but the truth is, I didn't see anything that stood out to me,” Cooper told the Jamaica Observer.

“We started in a ballroom and the show was in a little corner and we had an exhibition hall in the room and then it grew and we went to the National indoor Sports Centre — a big venue with plenty people and now we are back to this size. Will this is a process of continuous change and transformation. This now is the core for the future of this collaboration and Pulse Global; you have to start somewhere with this new paradigm. So what we are doing is reformatting the event along the lines of what we will be doing in the future,” he continued.

Launched in 2001, CFW is aimed at showcasing the works of regional and local designers. Since its inception, the event has showcased more than 150 designers from countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Trinidad and Tobago, and Haiti.