Wednesday 20 June, 2018

Design A Dress: Aspiring fashion designers get expert advice

With $100,000 up for grabs, 17 young designers have been challenged in the Design A Dress competition to create a ‘tropical fantasy’ themed wedding dress in eight weeks.  The top five designers, plus  the organizers’ wild card pick, will get an opportunity to present not only their Tropical Fantasy wedding dress design, but also a few of their  overall best designs. The Bridal Fantasy Expo will be held on Sunday, January 29, 2017 at the Spanish Court Hotel commencing at 10am.

At the workshop, the designers were urged to seize the opportunity through the competition to establish a reputation and build a brand.  Though absent from the workshop, 2016 winner Yolande Bennett’s design was displayed and proves to be big shoes to fill.

Adorned in a custom made dress by local designer Shenna Carby, Ann-Marie Vaz laid the fabric by sharing with eager designers the importance of time management, branding and professionalism.

Vaz urged participants to foster good relationships with clients. In the same breath, Vaz highlighted the importance of being aggressive towards building a brand which would undoubtedly lead to individual success in the fashion industry. Ultimately, Vaz’s desire is to see brand Jamaica on par with Hermes, Gucci and other celebrated foreign designers.

Wealth management could not have been left out of the entrepreneurial discussion being had. Nursita Grey, bank manager at Sagicor, spoke of the financial responsibilities of owning a business. Grey shared her pattern to good money management.

The importance of setting goals, developing an organized system, tracking spending and building a budget were pronounced in Grey’s address to the participants. She encouraged the designers to obtain a free copy of their credit report to determine their credit worthiness, which she said will enable them to make the next move towards a business start-up.

The necessity of the Design A Dress competition was brought to the fore when Grey shared her own experience of frustration while trying to source her wedding dress locally several years ago. She eventually sought a local dressmaker and was delighted with the outcome. She hopes for greater opportunities for local designers.

 Though not a wedding expert, Gary Matalon was able to stitch the pieces of the workshop together by providing three lucid points for the designers.  Matalon insisted that there is no clearly defined road map to success, preparation is key and confidence helps to realize full potential.  He implored the designers to never become complacent in their quest for success in the fashion industry.

Essentially, it is Helen G’s hope that she will be able to recommend Jamaican designers to her clients. She is determined to continue the Design A Dress competition for years to come.  Promising designers are already adding the finishing touches to their Tropical Fantasy wedding dress. 

FEATURED PHOTO: Ann-Marie Vaz offers advice to Design A Dress participants at a workshop in Eden Gardens on Tuesday (Photo: Marlon Reid)