Island Def Jam held a big party on Wednesday night for their favourite islandista, Rihanna, for going twelve times platinum.
Seriously, is that her curry la-la that we’re seeing? Errrmmm!
In other islandista fashion news Zoe Saldana is the only damn islandista we’ve been able to pin down on the red carpets of the Cannes Film Festival thus far – and trust, we’ve been looking! She made an appearance at amFAR’s Cinema Against Aids event in a nude-coloured (is that an oxymoron?) toga style dress and pulled back hairdo that we’re not too sure about.
I dunno… I just don’t like the hump in the middle of her head… or maybe it needed to be more dramatic. If you’re going to put a hump in the middle of your head, commit to it. Cute shoes as ever though…
In even more fashion news, two of the region’s bigger fashion weeks are coming up in short order – Trinidad & Tobago’s Fashion Week is starting next weekend – running from Friday May 29th to Tuesday June 2nd.
The big one a yaad and abroad, Caribbean Fashion Week, is coming up in Jamaica from June 10-15.
Now, Jamaiaca and Trinidad probably have two of the strongest fashion ‘industries’ (as they were) in the region, with designers like Claudia Pegus actually able to make a full-time living from what they do.
And certainly these two fashion weeks bring a fair amount of attention to Caribbean designers and give them an opportunity and platform to showcase their work. Last year, CFW was even featured in the New York Times’ style mag, The Moment. Big t’ings a gwan right?
Are they? Some unfortunate news I heard this week about the fate of the Barbados delegation for CFW has me wondering how useful these fashion weeks are actually proving to regional designers. After being funded for the last five years by a government investment agency, a designer friend of mine out of Barbados has let me know that the funds tap has been turned off this year. Since most (all?) of them do designing for love more than money, dey get juck, basically.
But I can kind of see the agency’s perspective on it – after all, what tangible benefits has funding the designers brought in the last five years? Tangible benefits like foreign exchange or even promotional benefits for the country?
And besides exposure, what do the fashion weeks really do for designers? It is pretty clear to see what it does for the models, as several girls who have walked at CFW have gone on to pretty successful international modelling careers.
But for the designers, what do they get besides exposure? Not saying that exposure isn’t valuable but it has to turn into something to be valuable, don’t?
Are there any buyers invited to these Fashion Weeks? Because at the end of the day, every real fashionista knows it is the buyers who have the real power- fuck an Anna Wintour. The Devil may wear Prada but she is not the one who actually chooses it for actual people to buy from an actual store.
And if there are buyers, how many sales are made? I’m just asking because generally the glowing reports I read after these events have mostly to do with how much exposure was gained and which publications Designer X’s clothes were featured in. I don’t tend to hear a lot about orders being made.
I’m not trying to be snide or a hater, I’m genuinely wondering. I’m not an expert on the nitty gritty of the fashion industry in the region so I’d welcome some feedback on this. How much do designers get out of it in a practical, dollars and cents sense?
UPDATE: Turns out I’m not the only islandista (?) asking these questions. There is a great post over at Caribbean Fashion Style Journal asking some of the same questions and giving some more informed perspective on it.