The inaugural Bahamas Fashion Week was a star studded event. Local celebrities and well known influencers mingled with special out-of-town guests for three nights. While I had my own personal reservations going into this, and I firmly believe it should have been better supported, I'm proud to say that Bahamas Fashion Week was a huge success!
With emerging designer showcases, men and women's panel discussion and other educational workshops, Bahamas Fashion Week made a huge cultural impact that deserves recognition. What I loved about the fashion shows was the diversity of the models. Most runways are littered with size 0, white women. So to see a realistic representation of the average Bahamian woman on the runway was not only commendable, but inspiring. I also loved how the various shows were spread out across the three days. Each showcase didn't last more than 2 hours, so I didn't feel drained afterwards. They started on time and each segment flowed seamlessly into the next. Considering this was their first yet, that is a very commendable thing to do.
Night one was the night for emerging designers. My favourite designer from the night was Tonique Farrington. Her designs were consistent, fun and practical.
Night 2 had even more designs, with the musical talents of Rashad Leamount. I was intrigued by the crocheted swimwear from Vernique Chandler, and delighted by the intricate straw work designs of Estreja Designs.
I've always wondered about the practicality of crocheted swimwear, but I can't help but admire the handiwork. The straw duffel bag and loafers below were my absolute favourite and I would love to purchase them! I love seeing our natural resources used in such creative ways.
After the show I was able to chat a bit with New York based designer Mickey Freeman and blogger from FashionBombDaily, Clair Sulmers. It was really nice meeting them; they were friendly and approachable.
Bahamian Fashion Designer David Rolle closed out Night 2 with never before seen pieces that blew me away. I've always loved his collections since his premiere on Mission Catwalk and his latest collection, Raphelita, did not disappoint!
Night 3 ended things with a huge BANG! I was really excited to see Mickey Freeman's designs so let's start with him! Of course the designs were gorgeous! While I'm positive no Bahamian male is about to run out and buy a kilt, it was interesting to see the different reactions to male models in skirts. Even some of the models had mixed feelings about it, which is the beauty of fashion. Some find it daring and bold, while some see something they just don't understand. Overall I loved his collection and really liked his signature jacket (retailing at just over $500) until I found out it was made with lambskin leather. I don't wear anything made with real leather or fur, not even belts. Here are a few of the looks he brought out onto the runway:
The next international designer that blew me away was Maryann Kai Kai from Sierra Leone. I had the pleasure of listening to her share on the struggles of finding genuine resources for fashion design and protecting intellectual property. The room went crazy when the first dress came out. It flowed so beautifully I just wanted to wrap myself in it. All of her dresses flowed magnificently. The vibrant prints, cuts and shapes of each piece were beautifully made and looked tailored to each model's body. See for yourself.
Last but not least was the daring and bold designs of Stevie Boi. I had the pleasure of meeting him afterwards. He shared that he hoped he didn't offend anyone with his designs (someone must've told him we're a "Christian Nation"). His designs left everyone's jaws on the ground, and in a good way! He stole the show! His collection entitled, "Through the Wormhole" was meant to be a reflection of past fashions as well as present and I think he definitely nailed that.
That's it! Fashion Week may have only been 3 days but with so many events and activities there was never a dull moment! A huge thank you to everyone who worked tirelessly to make this event happen, because it's events like these that inspire the youth to be more than doctors and lawyers. Fashion and Arts allows people to think creatively so I support anything that gives them the opportunity to share their creations. The youngest designer was 17 and a high school student at Queen's College. Just think, today she can say she shared the stage with artists like David Rolle, Christopher John and several international designers.. Keep up the good work and see you again next year!