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The Honourable Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports says the Jamaican fashion industry is a very important aspect of Jamaican creative expression and that her administration is committed to supporting the industry and helping it grow. The Minister was speaking at a Press Conference held at the Hilton Kingston Hotel today to launch the eighth renewal of Caribbean Fashion Week.
The Minister lauded Fashion Week as ‘the brainchild’ of Pulse CEO Kingsley Cooper, saying that he has demonstrated a professional approach to fashion that has helped Jamaica create a recognizable fashion signature that was recently celebrated by designer Uzuri receiving an award for Best Evening Gown in the Miss Universe 2008 competition.
Saying that she was proud to endorse Caribbean Fashion Week and its producers, Mr. Cooper, Hillary Phillips and Romae Gordon. She reminded that Pulse has helped a host of Jamaican women including Nadine Willis, Jeanelle McKenzie, Carla Campbell and Nell Robinson to become international fashion models.
The Minister praised Pulse and Cooper for using CFW to link with and showcase the work of designers in all Caribbean territories, singling out Trinidad and Barbados as two island nations that have made tremendous contributions to the high reputation of Caribbean fashion. She also welcomed the addition of designers from Africa, England, the USA and Romania, and said this showed how broad and important was the outreach of Caribbean Fashion Week.
The Minister said that designers whose fashions will be exhibited at CFW are part of a thriving yet struggling Caribbean industry that employs many workers in manufacturing and marketing. She said she has had talks with Kingsley Cooper about the several needs of the industry and he has identified some of the most urgent needs as finding better methods of acquiring fabric for designers, as well as training in business management to enable them to maximize the industry’s economic potential.
Minister Grange said that as her government works to secure the copyright and branding of Jamaica’s indigenous culture in all its formats, the fashion industry has staked its claim to be included as an important sector of the island’s creative industries. As such, she informed that her Ministry has employed a trained person to be a liaison between Government and the industry, to help identify problems that hamper the industry and their solutions.
The Minister welcomed the Jamaican media, whom she said have always supported the fashion industry, highlighting designers as well as those who wear fashion well. She especially welcomed the foreign media, which this year includes Vogue, BBC, New York Daily news, the Associated Press and several others. A special media link with Fashion TV! will broadcast Caribbean Fashion Week live by satellite to 400 million households worldwide.
The Minister also thanked the event’s sponsors for making it possible for CFW to be even bigger than it has ever been, and said she looked forward to attending the event as much as her schedule permitted.