New York Fashion Week has Fashion’s Night Out and Islands of the World Fashion Week (IWFW) created the Runway to Fashion Week – a designer showcase for local novice designers to kick off the IWFW festivities. On Sunday evening, the Runway to fashion Week was held at Mario’s Bowling Palace with a packed house of fashion enthusiasts present to witness the show.
I was honored to be selected as a judge along with textile and fashion designer Pamela Burnside and fashion designer Percy Wallace.
Dubbed the Bahamas’ “Project Runway,” 5 novice local designers participated in this inaugural event. The designers vied for two amazing prizes – the top designer winning an opportunity to show a collection in Islands of the World Fashion Week with fabric donated by Bahama Handprints as well as an opportunity to be entered into a wider competition with the grand prize of a scholarship to attend Parsons The New School for Design in New York City courtesy of the “Harl Taylor Fashion Scholarship.”
The designers included Katherine Booth, Rudolph Brown, Treneil Hanna, Theodore Sealy, and Gloria Whymns.
Each designer presented a 3-5 piece collection, followed by one design that was to be representative of culture and fashion, challenging the designers to draw their inspiration from Bahamian culture and execute that vision using indigenous elements.
In the end, the competition was narrowed to the two strongest designers, Rudolph Brown and Theodore Sealy.
Rudolph opted for a tempered color palette for his collection, using deep crimson and black lace. However, he lightened things up with his cultural piece, a wedding gown with an asymmetrical one shoulder neckline featuring an Androsia floral applique at the shoulder and an Androsia panel around the waist.
Theodore went bold and bright. Explaining that he drew inspiration from pop singer Solange Knowles and her trendsetting african print inspired ensembles – his collection featured deep necklines married with mixed patterns. His models sashayed down the runway to middle eastern inspired music. Whether it was the music or the shimmering wide legged peach colored trousers in his second look, it was very reminiscent of Sex and the City 2.
Before the final winner was chosen, the designers were also asked to describe their fashion philosophy. Rudolph explained that his was to bring drama to the runway, while Theodore expressed a desire to outfit the woman who wants to be unique and chic.
In the end, bold and bright with attention to detail prevailed and Theodore Sealy was announced the first annual Runway to Fashion Week winner.
The Runway to Fashion Week is just one of the events falling under the CariFringe Festival calendar. CariFringe is a first annual cultural and regional arts festival running from October 1st to October 11th here in Nassau, Bahamas. The official IWFW runway shows begin November 11 at the British Colonial Hilton.