Strive or dive. 2020 is the year we all contend with challenges that push us out of our comfort zone and into a realm of uncertainty. The fashion industry is no exception. Seeing what next fashion designers will set as trends, and perhaps dazzle us with, are only two aspects of this major industry. The industry has faced its own set of challenges and all of these are now posed on a COVID-19 era backdrop.
The industry has been in the media in situations related to race, culture and appropriation, exploitation of skilled labour, and sustainability, much of which are not very positive. A conscious approach to fashion would drive improved quality of life for stakeholders and the environment. In a recent interview with our very own Naomi Campbell, major figure in the fashion industry, Anna Wintour made a call to “rethink what the industry stands for” in spite of the pandemic. “I think it is an opportunity for all of us to look at our industry and look at our lives and rethink our values, and to really think about the waste and amount of money and consumption and excess, and I obviously include myself in this, that we’ve all indulged in and we really need to rethink what this industry stands for,” she said. She made a clear call to a more conscious approach to fashion; for us to “slow down “, “celebrate the art of fashion,” and “enjoy it much more.”
Fashion capitals, New York, London, Milan and Paris, have all been critically hit by the effects of COVID-19, with major fashion shows being cancelled among other negative impacts. The industry has also been more driven towards the digital space which now creates a more level playing field for the Jamaican fashion industry. Kingston, Jamaica now has a chance to compete, thrive and join the fashion mecca as the world continues to turn. In recent controversies it was highlighted that major markets are no longer only concentrated in the western world but now stretching to the east, for example in China. The drive to digitalization has widened and Jamaica now has the chance to grab hold of its shares in this market. The idea has been talked about and we are privileged to be alive at this time to witness the possible super growth of Jamaica’s Fashion industry. Jamaica’s Fashion week with stakeholders such as model agencies such Pulse and Saints, have already taken the industry to another level and now with Downtown Kingston’s Art District growing under the pioneering movement of the Kingston Creative, will fuel this super growth of our very own Jamaican talent in the creative industries and the fashion industry is very much apart of this.
A conscious way forward needs to look at sustainability, quality and luxury and the Jamaican skillforce as the way to realize this. The July Cultural weekend hits the virtual stage with the Virtual Meetup on Friday July 24th starting at 5:00pm via Zoom discussing “Conscious Fashion” featuring a panelist discussion with Troy Oraine, CEO, Tribe Nine Studios Designer and Stylist, Kristia Franklin, Stylist, Tia Clothes Girl, Rodney Powers, Regional Fashion Specialist, and Arlene Martin, Director, drennaLuna. Hostess, Angelie Martin Spencer, Creative Director, SOL by drennaLUNA, will be on to moderate this discussion that promises to be thought provoking. We sweeten the discussion with music from the beautiful and talented singer, Amanyea. To join the Meetup, register via Eventbrite or visit the link to the registration form on the Kingston Creative IG page for access to the event (https://www.instagram.com/kingstoncreativejm/)
On Sunday the 26th of July, the Virtual Artwalk delivers as it showcases our Jamaican Creatives in the fashion industry via Instagram Live and IGTV. The virtual events start off with Yoga with Andrea Molinar at 10:30am and catwalks into a series of mini-features between 11:00am and 2:00pm. The theme, as you may already guessed by now, is Fashion. The Artwalk gives you a colourful look at what our Jamaican creatives have to offer as well as how to contact them and get your hands on their authentic work. All this with a good dose of entertainment.
At 3:00 pm, still on IG (Live), there is an extra special feature in store that offers you the chance to view the historic launch of Jamaica’s first Creative Hub. A manifestation of just one of Kingston Creative’s goals to create a niche to foster the growth of Jamaican talent and viable creative careers.
At 4:00pm we go live on IGLive as we have our EATs (Emerging Artist Talks) where we get a little personal with up and coming artists Tracy Jackson Blake, multimedia artist, and Abigail Hewitt, who makes bags out of recyclable material, as they share with us their journey as they grow and manifest their dreams as creatives. Come prepared to interact with these young artists and hear ideas that may help you grow in your own creative field.
Friday July 24th
5:00pm – The Virtual Creative Meetup on Zoom
Sunday July 26th
10:30 am – Yoga with Andrea Molinar
11:00 am – The Virtual Artwalk
3:00 pm – The Kingston Creative Hub Launch
4:00 pm – Emerging Artist Talk
Fashion; you wear it, you love it, you are it! Try not to miss a moment of this line up, but if you can’t be present for all the events, join when you can. Look out for the agenda on Instagram for a more detailed outline of the events. So let’s Meetup, have an ArtWalk then sit and join EATs this weekend.
During this time we ask you to stay safe and wear your masks like the ones our very own Jamaican fashion community has been working so hard to produce.
Kingston Creative was founded in February 2017, and is a registered charity that is working to empower creatives and catalyze the transformation of Downtown Kingston. Within ten years we aim to develop a vibrant Art District, a thriving Creative Entrepreneur Hub and promote growth of the creative economy in order to achieve sustainable national development.