St Lucian Designers used an assortment of colour, creativity and innovation in an attempt to win the judges’ favour at this year’s competition segment of Caribbean Collections. However, the emerging winner added some divine strength and grace for the inspiration behind her winning pieces.
Caribbean Collections Fashion Week 2013 culminated on Easter Sunday, with a fashion event at Sandals Grande, which pulled out all the stops showcasing the best of haute couture from Saint Lucia and the international market as well. The two pronged event gave the audience a taste of some international fashion from three renowned guest designers and presented eight Saint Lucian designers competing for the title of ‘Emerging Designer of the Year.’
Organized by Cinnamon Productions and held at the Sandals Grande Ball room, Caribbean Collections 2013 was very well attended, attracting a number of well-known local personalities, fashionistas and people who simply wishes to enjoy a good fashion show. They got and more as organizers also threw in some goodies as prizes on the night.
Hosted by Claudine Springer, the event started off with Joycie Mederick of Cinnamon Productions sharing her vision and overview of the event with her audience. This was followed by the showcasing of some fun and glamorous pieces by guest designer Romero Bryan of London. His collection was followed by that of Dwight Eubanks of Atlanta with a collection that had a heavy emphasis on red.
Models like Louise Victor and Keisha St Helen brought the pieces alive as they captivated the audience’s attention. Eubanks, who was also a part of the event in 2011, seemed to have garnered quite a local fan base, judging by the crowd response which came with his stage appearance afterwards. But while his entrance was no surprise, his special announcement certainly was.
On Sunday, Eubanks told the audience that in recognition of the hard work put into the event over the years by the organizer and the immense local talent coming through, that he would give an award to the winner. The winning designer would accompany him on an all expense paid tour of New York and Atlanta. There, they would showcase their work whilst also receiving training and networking opportunities.
On Sunday, eight Saint Lucian designers competed for the top prize which would also include a trip to the United States to attend New York Fashion Week in 2014. The competing designers were Angele Hennecart who won in 2012, the 2011 winner Sharon Tanner, Latoya Joseph, Charmaine Anatole, Amanda Deterville, Rene Pologne, former carnival queen contestant Kimberly Charlery and Cheyene Maxwell. Their first presentation saw an interpretation of the red dress challenge based on one of the underlying themes of the event in support of the Heart and Lung Foundation and endorsed by Virgin Atlantic, sponsors of the event. Their second challenge was to create an original piece from recycled clothing based on the theme: ‘Recycle, Renew, Reuse.’
In the end, the judging panel including Bryan, Eubanks and Adrian Alicea of the US who also showcased some dramatic and daring pieces on the night and named the first two places in the competition. In second place was Charmaine Anatole with Sharron Tanner walking away with the top prize for the second time. Her models were Delma and Tara.
There appeared to be no dissent from the audience who mingled freely afterwards sharing the marquee for photo opportunities with the models, guest designers and friends. Sponsors Baileys continued to pour out their famous “BBC” while other sponsors like MAC, the Heart and Lung Foundation and the Ministry of Commerce showcased their products and services. Other sponsors included Baron Foods, Sandals, MBC, American Airlines and Calabash TV.
Following the event, Tanner told the STAR the recycle segment was what really got her excited about participating this year.
“I like that sort of challenge and it gave me the opportunity to use some old techniques like tie- dye, applique and patch work,” she says. Her red piece was called “Devine Grace” she told us with “Devine Strength” the name of the recycled piece. “Devine Strength” utilized two old dresses and a skirt the designer informs and symbolizes balance, which teaches growth, self-respect and living in harmony with the rest of the world. “It took me pretty much about a month and a half to put these together after I came up with the idea,” she told the STAR when asked how long the process took.
Tanner says she is ecstatic to have won; although she was not so sure of her chances at first, recognizing that some of the other competitors “came real good.” About going to the US as part of her prize she had this to say: “This will give me the opportunity to meet with foreign designers and allow me to learn from them, build my own portfolio and establish a network as well.”
Caribbean Collections is a great initiative. This is a wonderful stepping stone for emerging designers and given greater support I think the event can become something we all can look forward to and benefit from annually,” Tanner states.
Sharon Tanner got into art back in Secondary school. She now has her own line called EC Harbour. Sharon is a former student of the Burrow School of Arts in Guyana, where she studied textile designs. In 2006 she took part in Caribbean Collections and was successful at her second attempt in 2011 and now again in 2013.