A major fashion spectacle held in Guadeloupe recently has been hailed by one of the Saint Lucian attendees as not just a success but an eye opener. Kreyol Fashion Days 2015 was held on the French island of Guadeloupe June 1- 6, 2015. During the week, experts and regional and international professionals exchanged ideas and indulged in workshops and conferences to support creative and entrepreneurial initiatives in these domains.
The event was attended by STAR Publishing Managing Director and Publisher of She Caribbean Mae Wayne as well as by photographer Bill Mortley, both from Saint Lucia.
“I was invited to be a speaker at the Guadeloupe Kreyol Fashion Days by the organizers and this event is a fashion industry conference really, more than it is a fashion show,” Wayne says. “Funded by the government of France, basically it is about the fashion industry and the business of fashion,” she adds.
The event drew speakers from France, Trinidad and Brazil – a country, according to Wayne, that is one of the biggest emerging markets right now in fashion. “Among the topics discussed was the growth in the ethnic market and black market and I spoke on black beauty, in particular Caribbean beauty,” the She Caribbean publisher says.
“It was a very interesting conference and I think a lot of the Caribbean people benefitted from the discussions and interactions we had,” Wayne explains. According to her it was a great opportunity to share ideas as to where we are in the Caribbean in terms of fashion and what we can produce.
As someone who has been part of the fashion industry for decades, Mae Wayne believes that the French government has seen the value in the fashion industry and what it contributes to their GDP, and it supports it fully. She believes that other governments in the region need to take note, including Saint Lucia. “Unless we start putting money behind our talent, it is going to die. The only thing we have to export is our culture, the arts, music, fashion. We cannot keep selling just sand, sea and sun. We have a culture, we have artistic people and we need to invest money in them, more money in manufacturing if we are serious about creating an industry,” Wayne states.
Kreole Fashion Days featured international photo exhibitions, international and regional thematic conferences, workshops on issues affecting the industry in the region, international casting for a selection of West Indian models by renowned international agencies and the grand fashion shows which were all free to the public.