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Fabulous Finds for Fashion in Kingston, Jamaica

25 Nov

By: Shelly Anglin Smith

For years Jamaica has been making its mark on the world fashion map. It is no longer possible to interact with the major fashion houses anywhere in the world, mention Jamaican fashion designers and models, and be met with a blank stare.

Not only has Pulse for more than 30 years been churning out the likes of Jaunel McKenzie, Carla Campbell, Nadine Willis, Oraine Barrett, and Nell Robinson, but they have been placing them in internationally renowned magazines such as Vogue, Esquire, i-D, French, Love, Cosmo and GQ. This local modeling agency giant dominated this industry locally for many years, but young and growing model recruitment and placement agency, Saint International, is now earning its stripes in the marketplace with its unique brand of models. Saint has introduced Raschell Osbourne, Ashane Rose, and Shena Moulton, among others, to the world, and who have modeled internationally for Odd Molly, Mondo Guerra Project, and Mara Hoffman, to name a few. Not to mention that the models from these two agencies feature prominently in both major and minor local fashion shows, and in fashion shows around the Caribbean. And with home grown fashion designers like Pat Wright  of Wright Style, and Juliette Andrea Dyke of Julans Closet who hit the scenes more recently, were have a lot to offer to the world.

But how does all this auger for fashion for us in Jamaica? Are there any fabulous treasures for us regular ladies to soak up? Well judging by all the buzz surrounding this year’s Jamaica Observer’s Fashion Night Out (FNO), held on September 8 and first held in 2010, it would indeed appear that ladies here are very much interested in fashion and feel like the stores are catering to their needs and desires. There was a huge turnout of shoppers to participating stores around the island, and various parties and shows (even by businesses that didn’t sell clothing) were held to keep participants in a high mood. There was, too, the powerhouse collab between Permanent Cosmetics Studio & Boutique director Racquel Jenkins Moss-Solomon, and owner of the chic SoHo atelier Michele Coulton — both known for their elaborate FNO productions. Not only did they stage “The Fashion Meets Make-up Experience” for their fab clients, but it was hosted by internationally acclaimed American actress Vivica A Fox, who flew in just for the occasion. Naturally many Jamaican “who’s who” were there, clamouring for a chance to rub shoulders with the Hollywood A-lister. Not to be outdone, fashion’s Meiling was also here to put here seal of approval on her collection being sold at SoHo.

The prices of clothing and accessories purchased during FNO would of course run the gamut of personal budgets. I however wanted to source out fashionable items that are higher end (what you would find on the runways) sitting right in clothing stores accessible to all or available online. Here’s what I found for Kingston and on the internet.

  • So Ho boutique, already mentioned, is certainly very fashion forward. Located on Hope Road and with a presence on Facebook, they sell Meiling designs.
  • Julans Closet (www.julanscloset.com) is note worthy. They displayed a collection during the local Caribbean Fashion Week fashion show and the 2011 Miami Fashion Week, and also had an inaugural display with a fashion show at Red Bones café in 2008.
  • I also located Trilogy boutique store, also on Hope Road and on Facebook. They sell fashion, furniture and jewelry.
  • De G.A.P. at the Hilton Kingston Hotel is small and nice.
  • Go West in the Village Plaza, Constant Spring Road – very youthful, fresh  styles
  • Pat Wright’s Wright Style (www.wrightinstyle.com) sells a number of linen outfits that reflect the true laid back Jamaican style. They cater to those who love shopping online. So does La Pluma Negra, which offers “neat casual clothes” for women, men and kids.
  • Collectibles in the Village Mall
  • Xtras – a clothing and Jewelry store located in both Kingston and Montego Bay
  • For the more voluptuous fashionistas among us, there is Curvy Lady, a boutique on South Avenue
  • And though not clothes, I must mention Accessory to the Fact (interesting handbags and accessories) on Argyle Road; and Foot Candy in Upper Manor Park Plaza – guaranteed to make your mouth drool.

I also discovered a site called yuhRate (www.yuhrate.com) that gives reviews and rates things like clothing and other stores, art galleries, furniture, night clubs, books, beaches, among others. Nicely done site and definitely worth a visit. You can get some information about the stores here. Top5Jamaica (www.top5jamaica.com) also has a section on clothing and other stores, and you may find something of interest there.

So, exploration concluded, I do feel satisfied that Jamaica has something to offer the “fabulously forward”, the “fashionista extraordinaire”. It might take a little (or a lot) of digging, and irrespective of your taste – dropping straight off of a European runway or cool Jamaican flavour, you can find something to enhance your style.

 

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