Maneuvering The Jamaican Fashion Industry

In the Caribbean, Art plays an integral role in our culture. Jewellery Designers, Sculptors and Painters are the people that are at the forefront of our culture.

In Jamaica, fashion has advanced and gained importance, over time. Making it in the fashion industry in the Caribbean takes tenacity, willpower and some ounce of creativity. Though, in Jamaica, an inordinate amount of people succeed through nepotism as a result of the social hierarchy (status derived power). In order to truly flourish or “buss” as we say in Jamaica, one usually experience some form of favouritism.

Making it in the fashion industry is basically about knowing the right people. Yes, the same can be said about every other industry, but where creativity is concerned, it is different. The weird, bold and strange aren’t understood and therefore not widely accepted. For example, given Alexander McQueen was born and raised in Jamaica; he wouldn’t be as successful and popular as he is overseas.

Not only social hierarchy affects fashion in Jamaica, but also stigmatization and “the simple-minded”. Men are expected to wear a jacket suit for a formal event or a simple shirt, pant and shoe for the casual days. Whereas, women as per usual, have a broader spectrum.  On too many occasions I am have been, stared at weirdly (not that I mind), for wearing a simple broad hat in the sun. This one instance, for example, a lecturer at an institution that I was training for an diploma in fashion, said, “I never knew men wear scarves now!”. Those words are now engrained in my memory as a reminder that I will never make it as an eccentric creative in such a cultural, simple-minded society.

Often, thoughts of leaving my home country (who ever so often stifles my creative ingenuity) float around my mind. Then I remind myself, “What is the point of leaving? Better stay and try to fix it.”

Basic shapes, peplum skirts, maxi dresses etc., plague our industry as there’s no room for “creativity”.

There are few promising talents that might just be capable of making this change. Shevron Wallace, super talented upcoming menswear fashion designer, with a Tom Ford outlook. Then you have Mark Russell – Alexander McQueen reincarnated!  With a rather, melancholic, dark yet warm and inspiring style, he is Alexander McQueen reincarnated

By the will of Anna (Wintour) and the grace of God, there will be change!

                                      poncho -Shevron Wallace                       Model-Shevron Wallace
Mark Russell





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