Queen Esther Joseph has been sewing for nearly four decades. From the ages of nine to fourteen her mentor was Regina Edwards, a St Lucian designer, and after getting her first sewing machine in her early teens Esther started her own business. At the age of seventeen , determined to excel in fashion, she left St Lucia for New York, and got a job in a sweat shop producing piece work, then gained experience in working with leather, suede and furs. Still in New York aged nineteen, she studied with her Trinidadian mentor Rosemary Donald who held a degree in fashion design.
Queen Esther specialized in tailoring before branching out on her own at age twenty, creating customized clothing for a wide range of clients including models, Reggae artistes and stylish professionals, as well as bridal wear and gowns for beauty pageants. She now resides in St Lucia and still maintains her standards and reputation in the international market.
Kuumba Designs specialises in eco-friendly couture and Esther’s commitment to sustainability is solid! The label was created to conceptualize the esscence of life and her philosophy describes fashion as a concept of visual art forms. Kuumba Designs’ ranges are exclusive, functional and fabricated in a variety of materials such as hand crafted crochet, cotton, linen, hemp, bamboo, silk satin, chamois, taffeta, chiffon, organza , Chantilly lace, Sisal straw and recyclable materials.
Queen Esther draws inspiration from her extensive travels and interaction with people, art, fruits and flowers, blending ethnic and historical influences with contemporary creativity. Self-confidence and passion for design is paramount. When working on a collection she uses her personal and professional experience as inspiration. She continually experiments with new techniques, always seeking to be different with her approach to fashion.
SHE Caribbean has featured Queen Esther’s Kuumba Designs in many issues, and are proud to be associated with this top St Lucian designer, whose unique fashion point of view will be showcased on May 7 at the St Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival HOT COUTURE Fashion Show. Find Kuumba on Facebook, for more about the range and its inspiration.