SAINT puts spotlight on emerging designers

Observer senior reporter

Monday, May 20, 2019

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Knutsford Boulevard, the main artery through New Kingston's business district, was again the scene of a major fashion parade, courtesy of SAINT International on Saturday. The local model agency placed a runway in the middle of the commercial corridor for Fashion Block, their signature event for StyleWeek Jamaica.

A total of 16 designers sent collections down the massive runway to mixed reactions from the hundreds who turned out to witness the spectacle. Of those who showcased their work, a high percentage were first-time presenters.

According to head of the agency, Deiwght Peters, this move by SAINT International to showcase the work of emerging designers was part of its thrust to develop the local fashion ecosystem.

“That is where we wanted it to go. We have to develop and showcase all sides of the industry. There are so many young designers out there who are just waiting for an opportunity like this and that is what we are here for. StyleWeek Jamaica has been that platform for the past 15 years giving life to a number of our creatives looking to put their work out there. The truth is we have to develop all areas of the fashion industry. SAINT has been showcasing our models on the international stage for 19 years, but that is just one aspect of this whole industry. That is why, this year, we hosted the symposium on careers in the international fashion industry, which was a huge success. We have to develop all areas, and this year we really made a great step in that direction,” he told the Jamaica Observer following Saturday's show.

The work of the emerging designers was of varying strengths and qualities. For quite a number, however, there is still the need to master finer details, such as finishing a garment. Too often the garments seemed ill-fitting and lacking the finesse necessary to take them to the next level. Attention still has to be paid to the art of putting a collection together for the stage. A number of the designers showcased strong individual opening pieces, but as more of the collection emerged, the value and appeal waned quickly.

Standing head and shoulders above the raft of designers who sent work down the runway was TNT Fashion. Designer Simone Gordon, who is no stranger to the StyleWeek Jamaica stage, continues to grow with each outing. Her pieces, which featured bold solids accentuated by ethnic prints truly popped against the solid white of the runway and was the breath of fresh air Fashion Block needed. The audience showed their appreciation.

The fashion was also accentuated by entertaining musical performances by D'Angel and Chi Ching Ching.

As is customary, Peters and his team used the opportunity to highlight the strong international showing of many of their charges. Walking the runway on Saturday night were some of the agency's brightest stars. Among them were males Conrad Bromfield, Val Haughton, Kimali Morgan, Brad Allen, Romaine Dixon, Tevin Steele, and Johnny B. The women were not to be outdone. Among them were Trinidadian Fariel; Sharda Johnn from Suriname, Shane, Christina Knight, Barbara Lee Grant, Nakki Depass, Haytal Blackwood, Wayne, Shaun, and, of course, the agency's brightest star Tami Williams, who Peters noted will leave the island on Tuesday for an assignment with French fashion house Dior.

“We are very pleased with all aspects of StyleWeek this year. We changed Fashion Block from the usual Sunday to Saturday as we were getting complaints from persons from out of town who always had to be driving back to other parts of the country late at night for work on Monday. So we decided that we should shift the day, and it has worked out perfectly. So we look forward to next year when Saint will celebrate 20 years and StyleWeek turns 16,” said Peters.

StyleWeek Jamaica, which started last Wednesday, closed with the International Mecca of Style show at the French Embassy in Kingston last night.

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