SLIDE SHOW: Photos Lyndah Wells
Nassau, Bahamas -- One word folks –
The second edition of Islands of the
World Fashion Week (IWFW) was nothing short of a success. Audiences
and critics alike are continually showering the event with rave reviews
for high fashion and an exquisitely executed programme.
Thirteen island designers, representing
seven countries put their best foot forward for three days with edgy
couture and fantastic accessories as they showcased their 2009/2010
From the Caribbean, to Canada to China
and beyond, IWFW made its mark this year as the premiere event of the
Gregory Stennatt, a Tokyo resident said,
“In a nutshell, well – stunning looking models, wearing jaw dropping
fashions who execute every catwalk move with the calculated professionalism
that would make each garment dazzle the eye of any denomination under
“Islands of the World Fashion Week seems to have put the Caribbean
on the international fashion map, as the most exciting place to showcase
new fashion creations from [island] designers who are clearly not merely
making big splashes by the pool-side of this splendid venue, but also
causing a tsunami across the fashion world... Bravo!”
It wasn’t only the island prodigies
showcasing their talents. The group of 13 were joined by three guest
designers; the legendary
b michael, Project Runway’s cycle five winner,
Leanne Marshall and Henry Jackson for HNJ, whose 2010 collection won
a special nod and subsequent orders from United States First Lady, Michelle
Though all the designers came to Islands of the World Fashion Week (IWFW)
to flaunt their collections, their creativity was also put to the test
as they all vied for various awards during the event. The new designers
battled for the NextGen Designer Award, while veteran participants aligned
themselves to possibly be awarded one of four Seals of Excellence Awards.
Additional awards were also available for designers that constructed
special Sustainable Eco-Fashion and Cultural Fashion garments.
Celebrity judges, Louis Sarmiento and Susan Stein during a show. Photo: Lyndah Wells
Celebrity judges on hand for the event were Susan Stein and Luis Sarmiento.
Stein, a fashion diva in her own right, has been a staple in the fashion
industry for more than two decades managing marketing, merchandising
and public relations for fashion retailers and designers. Sarmiento
is one of the fashion industry’s foremost commentators and also the
publisher of IMG’s the Fashion DAILY Magazine.
Eric Raisina won two awards, Seal of Excellence and the Eco-Fashion Award. His designs are seen on the models and President of IWFW/Mode Iles, Owen Bethel stands to his left. Photo: Vaughn Scriven
Madagascar’s Eric Raisina took home top honours as he won both the
Sustainable Eco-Fashion Award and one of the four Seals of Excellence
Awards. The Sustainable Eco-Fashion Award is given for effectively using
environmentally friendly products while incorporating environmental
or social issues into designs. Raisina won for his outfit called African
Lace, which includes a crocheted raffia dress, raffia and silk organza
hat, and a silk organza scarf.
Jessie-Ann Jessamy of Grenada holds her award for Culture and Fashion. Standing to her immediate right is President of IWFW, Owen Bethel, and to his left, VP of IWFW Thomas frenez. Photo: Vaughn Scriven
The Culture and Fashion Award, given for incorporating a uniquely cultural
element in garment design was won by Jessie-Ann Jessamy of Grenada for
her spice cloth patterns and design, which carries the slogan “Be
spice. Discover authentic Grenada.”
Jessamy, who is very much into print and pattern making said, “We
love to print; the process is organic, tied to our love for traditions.
It’s not only about the destination but the experiences along the
way… in your clothes”
NextGen Designer Winner was Darcel de Vlugt. Photo: Vaughn Scriven
Darcel de Vlugt won the NextGen Designer Award for her edgy but elegant
cocktail and evening dresses. Trinidadian native de Vlugt believes that
people should “speak through fashion and style. It is only shallow
if there is no meaning behind what you wear or your reason for wearing
The NextGen Designer Award looks for creativity, expression of style,
selection of fabric and colour, and quality of execution of the design.
Qualifying designers would not have produced a line before, would have
been designing less than three years, and would not be employed at a
major fashion house. The award winner in this category will receive
a scholarship and opportunity to apprentice with an internationally-recognized
Winner of one of four Seals of Excellence for overall design creativity, expression, and quality of workmanship/production went to Harl Taylor BAG of The Bahamas. Left to right is designer Basheva Eve who designed the dress seen on the model next, Beverly Taylor of Harl Taylor BAG, and President of IWFW, Owen Bethel. Photo: Vaughn Scriven
Four Seals of Excellence are awarded for outstanding and exceptional
performance in overall design creativity, expression, and quality of
workmanship/production. The other three winners in this category included
Bahamian Beverly Taylor for Harl Taylor BAG, Jamaica’s Kenneth ‘K-Bobby’
Edgar for K-Bobby Couture and Murielle Leconte, for her beautiful and
colorful designs from Haiti.
Finally, the Humanitarian Designer Award was given to Hennes & Mauritz
AB known as H & M. The Swedish clothing company has been hailed as an “unsung ethical
hero” for their work practices and use of natural materials in clothing
production, like organic cotton. Though they were not present to accept
the award, they did issue a statement saying how encouraged they felt
by the award to continue their work.
The designers weren’t the only ones
winning awards. IWFW introduced the Muse Model Search Competition this
year. After months of searching, 15 models from seven Caribbean countries
were chosen as finalists. Bahamian Kendrick Kemp and Curacao’s Giovara
took home the titles of Male and Female Muse of the Year
along with $10,000 among other prizes.
Sponsors for the event included The Bahamas
Ministry of Tourism & Aviation, American Airlines/American Eagle,
DHL, L’Oreal Paris, ghd hair products, Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort,
The Montaque Group, Mode Îles Ltd, Bristol Wine & Spirits, Galleria
Cinemas, thebahamasweekly.com, and Bani Shoe Warehouse.
International media representation was
a record 65 personnel with coverage extending throughout the Caribbean,
USA, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, and India.
Now IWFW seems to be an unstoppable force
in fashion that, like wine, is only getting better with time.
To see highlights of the IWFW 2009,
visit our website at