Words by Erin Hansen, Photos by Biggy Bigz—
From the hardcore to the high end, Kingston Style is definitely the Caribbean’s best street-style blog and, if we’re not mistaken, the first. KS photographer Biggy Bigz is also a mainstay at Jamaica’s fashion shows, taking in all the action at, and bringing some of the best coverage of, events like Caribbean Fashion Week year after year. We tapped the Kingston Style team of Biggy and editor Erin Hansen for a rundown of the highlights at the 13th edition of the Pulse Model Management-produced event in Kingston.
Jamaicans have always had a keen sense of personal style. Bob Marley onstage in a jean on jean ensemble, or Gregory Isaacs posted up in front of the African Museum record store in his burnt orange tam—these are the iconic style images people associate with Jamaica. These days Jamaica has a very different look but fashion is still at the epicenter of everyday life and the annual Caribbean Fashion Week–CFW, for short–held by Pulse Model Management—is the expression of that evolution.
CFW took place earlier this month at the National Stadium in Kingston, and showcased three nights of fashion from designers at home and across the Caribbean. This year seemed special as more local designers showed collections with finely-tuned tailoring, trend forecasting, fabric and texture themes, and patterned story lines.
The first night focused on emerging designers such as Diana Jordan by Diana Williamson, Kyu Me’lange by Kesi Gibson and Ozge Turan, and ETA Luxe by Erica Appleby. Williamson’s designs stuck to a theme of tulle texture and polka-dot prints in white blues and black, while Gibson and Turan combined concepts to make feminine designs in soft lightweight fabrics. Appleby was the strongest designer of the night, exemplifying maturity in her collection by playing with angles and lengths in skirts, dresses and jumpsuits with pastel and creme patterns and tones.
Night two and three were dedicated to more seasoned designers. Themes of polka dots and tulle continued in the collections of Trinidad and Tobago designer Saleem by Saleem Samuel and Jamaican designer Marc by Marcia Nicely. Mix-and-match prints were pushed to the extreme and mesh was given a makeover in the Steampunk Revolution by Delia Alleyne collection while Caymanian designer Crown Atelier by Tigerlily Hill took her designs for a swim using neoprene fabric in dresses and hats. Earl “Biggy” Turner brought his dancehall designs to life in denim patchwork and Gavin Douglas by Gavin Douglas created a beautifully sophisticated collection of peplums, crop tops and floral prints in white, blue and pink.
The strongest collections of the weekend came from Sol for Drenna Luna by Angelie Spencer for her retro cool swimsuits, and the crisp, white ready-to-wear from Drenna Luna. Attitude by Ashley Martin also caught the attention of the front row for her extravagant prints and gowns. Perhaps the most exciting collection belonged to stylist Kaysian Bourke for her premier of the Flowerchild 1999 collection, which orchestrated mod bodysuits with strong shoulders, early 90’s high-hip swimwear, gothic imagery and classic Americana aline skirts in sheer brocade and leather textures.
It seems there is a lot more to talk about these days with Jamaican fashion. With creatives likes these on the runway line up, the epicenter of personal style may be shifting from the hands of the reggae forefathers to the minds of these bright designers.
See more from the collections from CFW 2013, and collections from seasons past here: