Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

A New Fashion Capital?



Model on the runway at Caribbean Fashion Week. Photo: Glympze, Courtesy of Caribbean Fashion Week

Jamaica may not have the fashion industry cachet of London, Milan, New York, and Paris, but Pulse Investments Ltd. hopes to change that. A 30-year-old Jamaican fashion, music and entertainment company, Pulse founded Caribbean Fashion Week (CFW) to boost global visibility for Caribbean fashion. On June 6, more than 50 top designers from 20 countries will gather in Kingston for the 13th annual CFW.

The four-day event has already received commitments from fashion celebrities like Cedella Marley (daughter of reggae icon Bob) and Tigerlily Hill. Cedella is considered a rising star in global fashion circles: she designed the uniforms for Team Jamaica in the 2012 London Olympics. Hill, the Caymanian creator of the Crown Atelier brand, won the Emerging Designer Award at last year’s Caribbean Fashion Week.

Much of the buzz surrounding the event is due to the work of Pulse. Previous shows have been critical to developing the region’s haute couture industry by incorporating “buyers, international press for marketing and sales support, workshops, business forums, and a professional exhibition,” says Romae Gordon, fashion director at Pulse.

Some 30 sponsors, ranging from the Jamaican government to beauty product purveyors, are involved in CFW and organizers will be live streaming the shows, generating an aggressive social media campaign through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and developing the Ready for CFW television series to create additional attention. More than 300 media outlets are expected to cover the event and organizers anticipate direct and indirect sales at this year’s CFW to top $100,000. “CFW has set the course for Caribbean fashion to take its place in the world,” boasts Gordon.

But if CFW becomes the newest must-visit spot on the global fashion itinerary, the Caribbean’s unique attractions—perfect weather, plenty of beaches to show swimsuit lines, and, of course, a reggae beat—will also have a lot to do with it.

The various bars and nightclubs throughout Kingston will host official after-parties that will keep the 5,000-plus guests and 100 models entertained as Jamaica and the Caribbean continue to gain global prestige in the fashion industry.

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