It's been a while right? So, last Thursday (October 1st), we witnessed the "Jamaica Observer Takes Style Out": a fashion event in which stores and designers would provide massive discounts and deals for just that night, similar to the Internationally recognized Fashion Night Out! There were so many events in Kingston in commemoration of this and I decided to attend the Jamaica Yellow Page's Fashion Directory "The Jamaican Designer Showcase", an unparalleled look at local design talent!
This event was held at Devon House in the heart of Kingston and St. Andrew and what an event it was! It was scheduled to be held from 7:00pm to 10:00pm, free of cost and promised a host of local talent! Here is a summary my experience!
Upon arrival at Devon House I noticed that the "house" was beautifully lit with red and green back lights as the runway stretched from the doors of the mansion to the water fountain several yards in front of it. It was an interesting set up as the sides of the runway reflected the social strata of Jamaica, but as this is not a sociological discussion, I will leave that where it belongs. On one side was the "VIP" section with seating for the runway show and a bar, and the ...not so VIP section in which patrons had to stand. This was one of my least favourite feautures of the night since the point of a VIP is BETTER treatment than normal and "normal" at a fashion show means seating provided; not just for the elite who have been specially invited (not even paying patrons as it was a free event) ANYWAY, that's not the point! I stood in the name of style, that's okay!
I anticipated that it would be a very full event and so I decided to arrive on time and not Caribbean time. However, I was the only one thinking along those lines, so, as the early bird, to pass time I went to the few booths which were set up with clothing on sale. Some of the local designers on display included: Wet Swim by Denyque, Shades of Africa, Black Star Blue Moon by Mamayashi. However, as a men's style blogger I was particularly interested in Mark Anthony Design and La'Shane Couture.
La'Shane Couture specializes in custom made bow ties and pocket pieces. Bow ties happen to be one accessory which is never "out of style" and so I was impressed with the marriage between a timeless piece and creative design. Personally, they were a little too big for my taste (probably because I have a small frame) but they also do custom ties to your liking and you can even provide the fabric! They're also very affordable with ties starting from $10 US and pocket squares starting at $3.50 US. Here are highlights of their runway collection and display!
Jamaicans, you may find them at Grandeur in Kingston and St. Andrew or in Lloyds Dept Store in Montego Bay. My non-Jamaican family may contact them on instagram: @lashanehall.
Mark Anthony Designs
Mark Anthony Designs impressed me beyond measure as every article of clothing on display was custom-made. This was impressive because of the quality of work, the level of design and hanger/display appeal. They provide customized suits, fitted shirts, socks and limited edition ties (knitted and normal). I also loved the way the clothes were styled on the runway! The colour palette was sophisticated and masculine at the same time. (Can you tell I really loved it).
You may find Mark Anthony Designs on Instagram: @markanthonydesigns or email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the second half of the night, as King of the Dancehall: Beenie Man asked for the keys to his "Bimma" we turned our attention to the fashion show, which was a showcase of local talent: design and musical. I was interested in this for two reasons: 1. I wanted to see where we were in comparison to the rest of the world in terms of design 2. I wanted the rest of the world to see where we were. A lot of the pieces were very unique because of the "Caribbeanness", some because of the impeccable tailoring, some because of the styling and I enjoyed it ALL! The show included: Shades of Africa, T and T Designs, La'Shane Couture, Black Star Blue Moon by MamaYashi, Effortlessly Chic by Renardo Lloyd, Safina by Angela Scott, Dexter 3D Pottinger, Mark Anthony Designs. Here are some highlights!
In conclusion, my night was made by the display of local talent. I am always blown away by how far we've come as a region in terms of design and styling. I could be standing all night (as I was on Thursday), or in the middle of the ocean, I will always jump at the opportunity to watch a runway show because it's the expression of our people. The entire Style Night Out for me could be better promoted in the next staging and probably the organizers could, in advertising, showcase local talent so that those who are genuinely interested in purchasing designs would be able to have an idea of what is being offered in the different shows, However, all in all it was a fair attempt and I enjoyed the night thoroughly! See you next year!
Special thanks to: Christopher Harper (@kingcristovao) who assisted me on the night with photography! It was greatly appreciated!
Get Up. Dress Up. Show Up.