Design Jamaica 2014

by - August 19, 2014

On Saturday, August 16th I attended the first annual Design Jamaica showcase orchestrated by budding designers Simone Nielson and Summer Jarrett. I was super excited about this event. Sure I've been to fashion shows before but none of this kind. Here was a new platform for young ambitious designers,  who other than the typical social media outlets rarely had the opportunity to display their craft on a big stage, or runway rather- until now.

Decked in a full suit of black (photos HERE) I arrived wide eyed and READY to be awed. As I alighted the shuttle bus my initial impression was: holy shit this venue and decor is superb! A part from those over the top couture runway shows (witnessed through the wonderful worldwide web), this was by far one of the best set up I've seen in a while. There was a fountain smack in the middle of all the action, but not in an unnecessary ubiquitous way - more along the lines of a stunning backdrop. And then that runway- possibly the longest I've ever seen. It was soooo long. So long. But sensible.

With just enough time to grab a drink of white wine, I shuffled to my seat as former Miss Jamaica, Sara Lawrence kicked off the night's proceedings moments after 8:30. Vain Glory was up first. I honestly could not have thought of a better way to open the show. Actually this line was so good it could have easily closed the show. I may not exactly be an authority of any sorts, but I know a cohesive collection when I see one. Dubbed the "Old Harbour Babe" collection, the use of tropical and geometric prints on light flowy material screamed island life- in a much opulent and exotic way. The styling and use of woven visors and clutch purses really made the collection come alive. I won't even bother to go on as I'm sure you can tell by now, I was really impressed to say the least.

Next up was Mia Kalani. I have to be honest, this was in fact my least favorite of the night. I think the designer showcased a random selection of items she had made over time rather than conceptualizing an actual collection. I wasnt exactly thrilled that her line also included prints used by another relatively popular swimsuit designer either. This was a miss for me however the potential is obviously there so I do believe with time, hopefully by next year's event, we will see a collection that really speaks to her ability as a designer.

Resort wear seemed to be the theme of the night with One Summer by Dane and Dominic Summers in the mix. I could definitely see the direction these designers are headed but I strongly believe they needed little bit more of a wow factor with this collection. It's something we've seen before but the items looked very comfortable and well made nonetheless.

Menswear was well represented for by newcomers Club Diamond. The line is not for the average man. Specifically if you're not the edgy-A$AP Rocky-Pretty-Muthaf!?&er type then you'll most likely shy away from this line. I think they know their market and are designing accordingly. While I'm not particularly fond of metro-sexual floral prints, most of their shirts strike the ideal balance between masculinity and trendy. I can see them making a name for themselves.

One other collection that really caught my eye was Drenna Luna. I'm a sucker for monochrome and this designer not only executed it well but in a very feminine and flattering manner. Certainly I could see myself in several pieces from the collection, lounged on a beach on Jamaica's west coast- drinking mimosas and pretending my name was Halle Berry. Oh- I just had to include the image of the designer in the fantasy-Alice-In-Wonderland like gown she wore down the runway, what a statement.

YC by James Black was another collection with some impressive prints on the runway. Her ethnic patterns were really funky and though I wasn't too fond of the all white pieces, the line still stood out. There was a high-waisted tailored pants paired with a bandeau top which was the real show stopper of the collection in my opinion. Prior to the show YC was one of three brands that I was already familiar with so I know what was shown was really just the tip of the iceberg.

What I enjoyed most about KAJ by Summer Jarrett was the asymmetrical pieces and unique cuts. My favorite piece of the collection was a white tunic with purple and orange accents - very simple but super mod. Generally speaking the line is very youthful and playful. At only 19 years old, her aptitude for design is already very visible so I'm looking forward to seeing what she does in the future.

Last and certainly not least, Misim by Simone Nielson closed the show. Another of the more cohesive collections, you can immediately tell the lady this designer caters for. The line was really sophisticated with a mature sense of style but still managed to capture the right amount of sexy. There was one piece- a really bright blue (cyan) dress that - while I loved the shape and cut of the dress- I didn't think it quite complemented the collection as the other pieces. Overall it was an immaculate showing - like really, the colour scheme was a nice little homage to her alma mater Immaculate Conception High School.

More than anything else though,this night was something special. Two young people saw the need for an outlet where up and coming  designers like themselves could showcase their craft and did something about it in the most genius way. I really have to commend Simone and  Summer on their first successful event and do hope they keep this spirit alive.  It is testament that unity is a building block for development. We can all agree that Jamaica has great talent and potential within the creative industries but until we learn to come together for our cause then our efforts are futile. Summer and Simone proved how fruitful teamwork can be and their hard work resulted in a beautiful runways show that I am certain left everyone looking forward to next year's event. Well done ladies.

Simone Nielson (left) along side Summer Jarrett

until next time
Do Good, Dress Well

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  1. What did you wear?! I know you must have been fashionable as always :). I love the looks overall - I counselled Summer Jarrett at summer camp and I'm very impressed with the path she has taken!

    1. Hahah! I should have it posted by tomorrow (: - but yes Summer Jarrett- very creative and potential through the roof! Thanks for reading Jess <3

  2. really wanted to make it to the first staging of the show.. yet i was able through this read to get a solid understanding, thank you Tiki, now can we see what your ensemble was like :) :)

    1. Luckily it will be an annual event! You're most welcome, thank you for reading and commenting! -Outfit post coming very soon, photographer working his magic ^.^

  3. Love the blog. Keep it up. Youre encouraging me to blog more lol

    1. OMG I didnt even know you had a blog! Thanks for reading - will def check yours out too (: Oh - and if you love it - keep at it!

  4. Love this blog post! Informative and image filled without being too long or wordy. This event put on by Simone and Summer is very impressive, and so are their respective clothing lines -- Misim and KAJ. I had seen some images of Vain Glory's items on Instagram previously, and I think it's a line that could really go far. Club Diamond also looks very nice with regards to male clothing.
    P.S. Love the blog! I have one as well, xx.

  5. I am just so in love with the Drenna Luna and Vain Glory collections. I would definitely love to get my hands on those! And I love that this event was put on for Jamaican designers to showcase their work, I hope to see this happen across the Caribbean!