Wednesday, June 8, 2011


By Eva Fydrych

Caribbean International Fashion Week (CIFW) is scheduled to open on Wednesday, June 8, 2011 in New York City. Caribbean International Fashion Week will accommodate a multitude of elite media, buyers, Caribbean officials, industry professionals and celebrities with the sole purpose of bringing more exposure and sales revenue to Caribbean fashion designers. In effect, CIFW will bring greater admiration and appreciation for Caribbean fashion and beauty worldwide.

The first ever Caribbean International Fashion Week will showcase some of the Caribbean’s best established couture and up-and-coming fashion designers. CIFW will support Caribbean designers with their expansion and promotion on an international level. 

While CIFW’s goal is to benefit Caribbean designers, it will also be raising funds for the CTO Foundation—a charity created for deserving Caribbean nationals working in the hospitality and tourism industry. The CTO Foundation is a non-profit charity that provides education for deserving Caribbean nationals, in addition to establishing the Caribbean as a profound region for couture fashion and prevalent tourism. Over the years, the CTO Foundation has turned out some of the most successful and promising hospitality and tourism individuals around the world.

Additionally, the CIFW is looking to train Caribbean designers on branding and production for their fashion lines, teaching them the business aspect of both retail and wholesale.

Two of the Caribbean's names in fashion, internationally renowned model, TV host and producer, Crystal Cunningham from Trinidad and Tobago, and the amazing Leah Marville, who recently appeared on Zing magazine cover, will be playing a big part in this massive event.

ZING caught up with Crystal who told them just how excited she is about CIFW: "I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of an event where Caribbean fashion receives a remarkable opportunity to meet the world. Whether you are a designer, model, photographer, hair stylist or make-up artist, I think it's an amazing time right now to be from the Caribbean, and I believe it's going to be an even greater feeling on June 8th 2011 at the Roseland Ballroom in NYC where we truly represent who we are and where we're from."


Queen Esther

Kuumba Designs (Creative designs) the design label from Queen Esther Joseph was conceptualized to create and capture the essences of living expressions of women happiness, joy, love, laughter and achievements. A creative mixture of fabrics Silk, Linings, lace, Tafetta to accentuate some of the most beautiful designs created on the island of St Lucia, symbolizing the work of one of the leading designers of St Lucia. Kuumba designs some of her work can be seen on Caribbean Fashion Weekly, Caribbean Fashion Rhythms, SHE Caribbean magazine, Ins and Out NY just too new a few. Winning Best Designer for St. Lucia Esther has proven herself to be a master at the arts as she has worked closely with designers like Cludia Pegus from Trinidad and the Cloth by Robert Young.

Theodore Elyett

Designs by Theodore Elyett is a designer label originating from the Islands of The Bahamas, under the design leadership of House Designer Theodore Elyett Sealy. This 21 year old designer, who has 8 years experience in the field of Fashion, is presently pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Fashion Design at top Fashion University in Toronto, Canada, Ryerson University . A recent recipient of the 2005 Recognition of Excellence for outstanding achievement in Fashion Design and Entrepreneurial Skills, Theodore E. Sealy is now the successful Founder/President of Theodore Elyett Productions® and the National Director and President of Theodore Elyett’s Miss Teen Bahamas World & Miss Teen Bahamas International®.

Jewel Shannon

Born in the Caribbean Island of Barbados, Jewel Shannon is a designer of distinction whose work is adding a unique flair to the fashion world. Jewel draws constant inspiration from growing up in Barbados; this is seen in her playfully casual line, her mind provoking swimwear collection and elegant body sculpting evening gowns. Her detailed attention to form and function allows her to bring out the best features in each individual client. Jewel Shannon's Designs have been featured in several news periodicals in the United States such as the New York Daily News, the New York Times, and Fox 5, as well as on several television and cable programs.

Rebecca Beck

Rebecca's first art exhibition, in 2003, took place at the Villa Maria Landhuis in her home island of  Curacao, Dutch Caribbean at age 16. She studied History of Art and Design in Florence, Italy before graduating with honours from Auburn University's Fashion Merchandising and Business programs. In 2007, she moved to New York to take part in the prestigious Carolina Herrera design team; aiding in the design and exhibition of their praised Bridal collection. Rebecca relocated to Curacao where she launched her luxury jewelry label- BECK Dutch Caribbean.
Although her career is young, Rebecca has a keen eye for sophistication and good taste. Working along side her childhood role model, the alluring Carolina Herrera, further refined her appreciation for the correlation between modern simplicity and timeless elegance- an ideal she strives to convey in each unique handcrafted piece of her current collections.

Charles Dieujuste

Charles Corvsky Dieujuste was born on the wondrous island of Haiti inheriting in his blood a rich culture, full of life and breathtaking ambiance. This picturesque island, with its plush green mountains and colorful array of flowers, was a backdrop in stimulating his mind and sparking inside of him an ingenious desire to become a fashion designer. Dieujuste's interest in fashion sparked at the early age of 9 where he was surrounded by a mother who was familiar with textiles and an aunt, a seamstress. Dieujuste took the opportunity to familiarize himself in pattern making and sewing techniques during his frequent visits to his aunt's showroom. It was through this exposure that he was able to teach himself the skills needed to begin his journey. This early experience at a young age coupled with the rich and vibrant environment of New York City, where he currently resides, has allowed Dieujuste to give birth to his introductory collection. Dieujuste hopes his unique brand will captivate the fashion world. With each creation he strives to present an aura of feminine aesthetic, romanticism, construction and classical.

Other participating designers: Lucia Rodrigues (Dominican Republic), Simon Duncan (Trinidad), Kazz Forbs (Turks and Caicos), Ron and Ron (Haiti), Casandra Mottley Sheliel (Barbados).

Source: CIFW, ZING

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