In 2007 The Cayman National Cultural Foundation (CNCF) introduced FRESH as an avenue for local designers to present and promote design innovation in the Cayman Islands. FRESH has since become an established feature of CNCF’s annual festival of the Arts, Cayfest, which is Cayman’s longest running festival of the Arts. The guidelines stipulate that specific elements must be included to ensure the preservation of Caymanian cultural dimension, while using well-established techniques in fashion. Local designers who desire a career in fashion design are given the opportunity to receive instruction through workshops, advice and guidance. It is hoped that FRESH will continue to promote yet another aspect of the creative cultural development of the Cayman Islands.
FRESH 2012 has been an exercise in combining Caymanian culture and international appeal.
The winners were announced in four categories. The first is the Emerging Designer Award, which is presented to Melissa Dilbert, who also took home the People's Choice Award. Virginia Foster and Mara McBean tied for the Cayman Culture in Design Award, while Mara McBean was awarded the coveted prize of Top Designer; they all received custom-made trophies by Horacio Esteban.
Though a small island rarely acknowledged on the fashion map, the event has proved that Cayman is brimming with talents eager to make their mark on the fashion world. Team ProFresh – Patrice Beersingh (Event Manager), Kareem-Nelson Street (Production Manager and Host), Janelle Muttoo (Public Relations Manger and Host) Brian Trickett (Marketing Manager) and Kidan Brooks (Design Manager) – produced a well-executed and enjoyable event on behalf of the Cultural Foundation. From the amateur debut collections of the show's competitors, to the more experienced hands of local guest designers Jawara Alleyne and Kidan Brooks, FRESH has shown that what is now a budding industry has the potential to expand into a powerhouse of art and innovation.
Jacqueline is a women's wear designer. She is well travelled and has lived in a number of Caribbean countries and the UK. This exposure has influenced her world perspective and ultimately, her awareness and innovation as they relate to fashion. As a designer, she recognises that clothing has the power to transform an individual and hopes to be able to fill this niche in the fashion industry. For more information on Jacqueline's work click here: http://doniiinfo.wix.com/donii and to visit her Facebook page click here.
Mara has been designing clothing from the age of 13. FRESH 2012 was her first public appearance as a designer. She is primarily a self-taught designer whose concepts are predominantly tailored for women's fashion. Mara's creative ability lends itself to diversity and men's wear may become a part of her unique collection in the future. She is inspired by her own vision and imagination.
Melissa has been interested in fashion design since she was a little girl. She became very excited when she learned about the CNCF Fashion Designer Workshop and registered as quickly as she could. She has enjoyed developing her professional portfolio and feels she has taken the first step to realising her dream. FRESH 2012 was the first time Melissa presented her designs publicaly.
Sandra has had a passion for sewing for over 25 years. This passion has more recently extended into fashion designing, for her own personal collection and brides. Over the years she has developed her fashion sense by attending several sewing workshops and she has been greatly inspired by designers like Coco Chanel and Ralph Lauren. Her collection for FRESH 2012 showcased her creative passion and confident sense of style.
Shirley has wanted to be a fashion designer for as long as she can remember. Over the past 25 years Shirley has been dabbling in design and making clothes for friends, family and the occasional paying customer with the largest ensemble being for her own wedding. She hopes her FRESH 2012 collection will evoke feelings of cool, calm and relaxing sophistication peppered with a little Caribbean spice and flair.
Through her role as an educator, Virginia has become very interested in the preservation of Caymanian heritage and recently received the CNCF Gold Award for Creativity in the Arts. Virginia is best known for incorporating silver thatch stitching in her collections. She believes fashion is an art form and endeavours to elevate national pride and support an eco-consciousness approach through her designs.
As a child Kidan often passed the time sketching designs and sewing dresses for her dolls. She has since received a Fashion Design degree from the New York Fashion Institute and completed internships with renowned fashion houses such as Tuleh and Narciso Rodriguez. She has regularly roamed the tents of New York Fashion Week and participated in both US and Caribbean fashion shows. Bridal design is her avenue of choice and she is greatly inspired by the business of making people feel magnificent.
Jawara is a self-taught fashion designer and artist. He has become a favourite designer of FRESH and is a two-time winner of the CNCF’s Designer of the Year Award. He has been featured in She Caribbean Magazine and in numerous editorial spreads. Jawara presented his farewell collection at FRESH 2012 before beginning his tertiary studies in the fall.
F.J. Harquail Cultural Centre 17 Harquail Drive
P.O. Box 30201 Grand Cayman KY1-1201 Cayman Islands
Phone: 345 949 5477 Fax 345 949 4519