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Designers brought energy and sartorial prowess to the catwalk at Caribbean Fashion Week 2017 in Jamaica, presenting exciting new design to a global audience. Especially of note was musician and designer Fuse ODG, who debuted his NANA (or ‘New Africa Nation‘) collection.
NANA was created by Fuse ODG created NANA to offer new narratives around how Africa is presented in Western media, one that is reflective of the dynamic cultural scope and range of creative talent across the continent. ‘The stuff I saw on TV about Africa when I was growing up was so negative, but these kids have grown up now, and they’re showing the successful and positive side of Africa,’ he said of the collection.
Traditional prints were combined with modern takes on sportswear, with slim-fit tracksuits and baseball hats serving as core components of the collection. The designer also had models walk with dolls that he put out at the end of 2016. Inspired by women throughout African history, these dolls were created to offer an alternative set of role models for young kids growing up today.
Jamaican model Alicia Burke, who owned catwalks at Stella McCartney, Ralph Lauren and Dolce & Gabbana last year, and Jimmy Choo campaign star Jeneil Williams also made appearances at the shows, with Williams debuting her new line of swimwear.
While the major cities are experiencing a little bit of fashion ennui, CFW offered an energetic and creative new approach to fashion, casting a central spotlight on African and Caribbean fashion.
Indeed, the event comes at a time when the likes of Orange Culture and Tokyo James are making waves on the international scene. And the media is noticing. As a recent High Snobiety report noted, ‘While cultural critics, essayists and novelists explore their identities in verses of prose, an up-cropping of talented designers are asking some of the very same questions with fabric.’
In a digital age, the image-led approach to storytelling allows fashion to play a central role in communicating these new stories, both on and off the catwalk.