To show at BB Fashion Week is a prize to any local designer, and Rodney Powers, the executive producer of BB Fashion Week, is on a mission to ensure this desire extends beyond our island shores.
BB Fashion Week for 2014 started on November 28, ending on November 30. With different events held on the grounds of Hilton Barbados Resort, specifically the Peninsula Terrace, the event was more varied than one might expect, expanding beyond being “simply another fashion show”.
“It’s more about developing the fashion industry in Barbados, an untapped industry which can be considered a new industry for the 20th century here on the island, and can generate some good foreign exchange from fashion business.”
The proceedings kicked off on Friday night with a Cocktail Extravaganza and continued the following morning with a Fashion Is Big Business workshop. Saturday night catered to the first of two fashion shows for Fashion Week, that night’s showing highlighting a Local And Regional Showcase, while Sunday night’s event featured a Toast To Fashion.
Designers for the Saturday showcase were Antonia, Jacqueling Benn Schuppe, Carla Gittens and Charles Dieujuste. Karlos Nunez and Viktor Luna showed their lines at Sunday’s show.
These designers were actually a new crop of talent for this year’s BB Fashion Week.
Carla Gittens presented the line that made her first runner-up at Mission Catwalk in Jamaica, a fashion designer reality TV show. The powers that be of BB Fashion Week recognized and applauded the efforts and accomplishments of the designer and thus invited her to show at one of the nights’ designer showcases.
Jacqueling Benn Schuppe is a returning national to Barbados and an international fashion consultant looking to dabble in some fashion here on the island, says Powers. He explained that the line was her first ever collection, which he thought amazing.
Another fashion show newbie was Antonia who did her first ever full jewellery line.
Charles Dieujuste, a collaborator from the United States, and who would have shown on Saturday, “would have been a part of our external planning committee for the Caribbean Market Centre who actually now runs BB Fashion Week”.
Recently Viktor Luna signed a three-year contract with the Caribbean Marketing Centre through BB Fashion Week in providing internship for locals and also teaching part-time in fashion finishing and tailoring classes.
Powers proudly went on to say: “Through BB Fashion Week we also got models invited to walk the runway and audition for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week fall presentation; so we’re excited for that. And then we also got design students the opportunity to intern. So it’s a win-win for us when we collaborate, and we build relationships with the international market. We’re grateful for that support.”
Of Karlos Nunez of the Dominican Republic, Powers said the designer actually wanted to come to Barbados before, and enlightened us that Nunez wanted to offer two internships for guys to come and learn tailoring in the Dominican Republic where he has a full factory.
The ambitious executive producer Powers hopes to get at least nine internships by June for the Caribbean Market Centre fashion designing Level 2 programme, so they can go off for a month or two to work with these international designers, which is a part of its programme and portfolio for certification through TVET.
Powers emphasized that BB Fashion Week “is not a show to make money . . . . It is a platform for locals to propel into the fashion industry. It is to bring international Press in to cover the show where the local designers get opportunities to be seen locally, regionally and internationally”.
BB Fashion Week, in its annual strive to grow from strength to strength, is now on the international fashion calendar, a feat Powers is more than proud of as he speaks of emails from the Press in countries such as the United States, Canada, France and England interested in coming to Barbados for the annual event. And so his vision is to maintain a certain standard for BB Fashion Week that when designers are invited to the island they will know that Barbados is known for high quality and high standards.
Of this year’s fashion week organizers, Powers says they wanted to give this year’s proceedings some Barbadiana flair. As such the beginning of Saturday’s timely show saw a lovely presentation by dancers of the Errol Barrow Centre For Creative Imagination. Whether the liveliness of the patrons at the event could be attributed to the dancing or the struts of the models in fabulous clothes, everyone seated or standing on Saturday kept an eye on everything that moved on that catwalk.
The event finale of Toast To Fashion was indeed that on Sunday night. Screams and ovations could be heard across the courtyard of Hilton Barbados Resort, as the collections of Karlos Nunez Couture by Karlos Nunez and Alien Queen by Viktor Luna ripped the runway.
Nunez showcased the one full male line of BB Fashion Week. Depicting a style aesthetic that spoke to no fear of fit, tailoring, colour or style, it was an immaculate collection screaming of perfect finishes and straight cuts.
Luna presented arguably one of the most awaited lines of BB Fashion Week. His designs oozed sexiness, quality and a dominating confidence. The leather, the accents, the fit, the effervescent quality of some of the fabric, the sheen of others, the tailoring, even the sleek off-the-face hairstyles of the models all added to the allure of this collection.
The final piece of this collection was a definite show-stopper. The full skirt and the crown-like depiction on the back of the accompanying jacket almost seemed to give the impression of a queen emerging victorious after her warriors had stamped another enemy –– in this case we cite the runway as the nemesis in question.