JIS News

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda, is encouraging fashion designers to remain consistent in producing the highest quality apparel, which he says, is critical for the success of the industry.

“The quality, the standard must be consistent. It is on that basis that we are going to be able to build a reliable brand and branding is the key to success in the apparel business,” he said.

“If you are going to get out into the world markets, we’ve got to start small but whatever we do, the quality must be the stamp, it must be the trademark, it must be that on which we are judged,” Minister Samuda stated yesterday (March 1), as he addressed the official opening of the new sewing room at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston.

He further underscored the need for training in high-end fashion design to appeal to an international market. “Jamaica cannot simply operate under the notion of only providing labour at the lowest end of the industry but must seek to create designs of our own that will take their place internationally,” he said.

The sewing room is part of the Fashion Design Department at Edna Manley, and was refurbished and equipped at a cost of $3.3 million by the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund and Supreme Ventures Limited. CHASE provided $1.5 million for the sewing machines, mannequins, and cutting tables, while Supreme Ventures donated $1.8 million for the total refurbishing of the sewing room.

This newly equipped department will facilitate formal training for hundreds of talented designers, making them more marketable and prepared to compete internationally.

Vice President, Group Corporate Communications, Supreme Ventures Limited, Sonia Davidson, implored the students to make use of the opportunity to hone their skills, while Chief Executive Officer of the CHASE Fund, Billy Heaven, said the training provided will equip them to become entrepreneurs. 

“It will enable you to become the owners of the means of production …and to branch off into entrepreneurial activities,” he said.

In his remarks, Principal, Edna Manley College, Burchell Duhaney, lauded the partnership between Supreme Ventures and CHASE to boost the capability of the department.

He said the output from the department will be highly trained and educated designers, who can “hold their own on the international market.”

The Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts is the first institution of its kind within the English-speaking Caribbean to provide professional and technical training in the arts, offering qualifications at the bachelor, diploma and certificate levels.