Feature
Donald Mirander is the first fashion d​esigner to be selected by Chevening from Jamaica, and will be pursuing a Master of Arts​ in Fashion Business Management at the University of Westminster, London.
Photo: Contributed

History-making Jamaican women’s wear fashion designer, Donald Mirander, is about to embark on a journey that will enable him to contribute to more local designers creating a history of their own.

The 2020 Chevening scholar is heading to the United Kingdom (UK) to pursue a one-year Master of Arts in Fashion Business Management at the University of Westminster, London.

He is the first Jamaican and the Caribbean recipient to be awarded a Chevening scholarship to pursue graduate studies in fashion.

Chevening is the UK Government’s international awards scheme, aimed at developing global leaders and is funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and partner organisations. Recipients of the scholarships and fellowships are personally selected by British Embassies and High Commissions throughout the world.

The British High Commission in Kingston announced last month that 14 Jamaicans had been awarded scholarships to pursue master’s degree programmes in the UK for the 2020/2021 academic year.

Speaking with JIS News, the part-time lecturer at the University of Technology (UTech), believes the opportunity he has received will open the door for many other members of the creative industry to pursue other avenues in their fields.

Chevening Scholar, Donald Mirander.

 

“This Master’s degree will enable me to work specifically in the education industry to provide accessibility for a more diverse and certified population of Jamaican fashion interests,” Mr. Mirander tells JIS News.

He says he plans to become part of the reformation of the current curricula offered for fashion at the tertiary level.

“The modules in the Master’s degree will arm me with the tools to work with our local educational institutions to create policies that reflect the global standards by facilitating opportunities outside of the standard academic portfolio for fashion-related courses. I believe that degree holders that study fashion locally should have the expertise to manoeuvre other genres of fashion like digital media or the journalistic landscape of the industry,” he notes.

Mr. Mirander, who has operated his own brand, Rednarim, for more than five years, says it is imperative that other creatives locally are able to start their own venture and sustain their own businesses, and he wants to be a part of this effort locally.

“Learning to create formally and running a brand are such different concepts and I know as creatives, it can be a struggle to maintain that balance, but as a young creative, I am looking to mentor persons in business and brand management,” he explains.

Reflecting on the Government’s move towards environmental sustainability, such as the ban on plastic bags, straws and polystyrene, Mr. Mirander tells JIS News that the fashion industry must pursue more environmentally friendly solutions in their creations.

“The United Nations reports that the fashion industry is responsible for a high percentage of greenhouse gas emissions, wastewater, and airline and shipping energy. Jamaica’s increasingly environmentally friendly approach in other industries means that creatives must also align themselves in this area,” he notes.

The 2018 Prime Minister Youth Awardee has created pieces for sprint legend, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce; beauty queen, Davina Bennett; and St. Andrew East Rural Member of Parliament, Juliet Holness, wife of Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness.

The Rednarim brand was also awarded the Miss Jamaica World Golden Scissors award for top designer in 2018.

The Glenmuir High School past student is now looking to London, UK, to pursue expanding not only his brand but the spectrum of the fashion and creative industry locally.

“I have been able to achieve a lot of my short- and even long-term career goals, so now I look to this one-year degree to help others, not only in fashion but also across Jamaica’s booming creative industry, to achieve theirs,” he said.

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