Guyana Fashion Week
When SONIA NOEL, founder/CEO of Guyana Fashion Week told me over lunch in New York City, that the creations of Guyana’s Indigenous people were coming into their own and ready to take their places on the local and international fashion arena, I did not fully realize the impact they would have on the local stage, much less their potential of showcasing their original creations on the International fashion arena.
Fast forward to the ballroom of The Pegasus Hotel in Georgetown on the opening night of Guyana Fashion Week, where it was announced that the Indigenous (aka Amerindian) designers from Guyana’s interior regions, have been invited to showcase their creations at the International Indigenous Fashion Week, happening in Malaysia later this year.
Guyana’s Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Hon. Sydney Allicott and Ms Valerie Lowe, Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs, as well as the US Ambassador to Guyana, Hon. Peter Holloway were among the VIP guests in the audience, on hand for the announcement. Both Ministers expressed pride, joy and satisfaction that a segment of their unique culture is finally being brought to the forefront. We’ve always been aware that this segment of Guyana’s populace amassed a massive pool of talent, but never knew that the buzz they created at Guyana Fashion Week (GFW) would have resulted in such major international attention.
ALL NATURAL & TRADITIONAL
Designers VANDA ALLICOTT, MARCELLA ALLICOTT and ABIGAIL ALLICOTT not only designed their garments, but used the traditional weaving mills to spin and weave their own yard, creating threads for crochet. They hand painted their own natural woven cotton fabrics with scenes from their natural surroundings of flora, fauna and wildlife. Traditional Indigenous beaded aprons were modernized into flippy skirts with fringed borders, over shorts. Crochet tops were embellished with elaborate hand embroidery and bead-work. A white, completely hand woven crochet dress was etched in fringes and `buckbeads.’ A short capelet was adorned with paintings of local flowers. Cool, easy men’s pima cotton shirts were hand painted with peacocks, toucans,
parrots and other animal wild-life.
Guest designers from neighboring Caribbean countries included: SOHAN BADALL from Trinidad & Tobago, who showed a dazzling Indian inspired collection called `Asiatic Allure,’ From Antigua came K.D.SQUARE and SHARIF GILLIAN with `Rainbow Expressions’ followed by KAREEM SIMONE, also from Antigua, who showcased an erotic bridal collection, that was laced in drama and sheer delight. JEANETTE VIEAH from Colombia presented a colorful `fitness wear’ collection and the J LO sportswear line was presented by CHETSON’S.
OTHER DESIGN TALENTS
On the local front, host designer SONIA NOEL showed `Nubian Renaissance’ her lavish, color infused womenswear as well as `Caribbean Modese’ her newest men’s wear collection. TRACY DOUGLAS charmed the audience with `Subtle Inuendo’ and ONIKA BAPTISTE showed denim variations with an Afro-Caribbean vibe. PAULA EVANS presented `Expressions of Guyana’s Nature in Flora & Fauna.’ Former `Miss Universe Guyana 2007′ turned designer; MELISSA PAYNE launched her latest swimwear line `The Dark Angel,’ NEILSON NURSE presented `Man in the MIrror’, STACY ANGOY’S `Festival Fandangle’ came to the runway in a burst of gay tropical prints in pinks and yellows. NAKITA FRAZER paid homage to the stars and stripes by way of a fresh swimwear line and DEBRA MATIAS accessories took centerstage in an accessory showcase, as well as complimented the designer’s outfits.
A special Designer Award for an up and coming innovative designer, who proved `Most Promising Talent’ went to Linden based SETRA O’SELMAN for a unique collection all made entirely from hair. The `Model Image of the Year’ award went to tall and stately CANDACY SUBRATTI who hails from the Mazaruni district of Guyana. The 5’9″ beauty exuded elegance, exuberance and poise on and off the runway throughout Guyana Fashion Week.