Jamaica is much more than sandy beaches and jerk chicken. Slowly emerging as the fashion powerhouse of the Caribbean, the island hosts several events annually which recognize the talent of up and coming designers, such as Style Week Jamaica and Caribbean Fashion Week. On the heels of New York Fashion Week, Jamaica’s ‘Avant Garde Designer of the Year’ Andre Rowe has joined forces with top Jamaican fashion photographer Wade Rhoden to present a sneak preview of his Spring/Summer 2014 collection. Rowe, who topped the 13 contestant field in the Saint International design competition in March of this year, draws inspiration for this men’s collection from what he describes as the international looks of the future.
According to Rowe, “this collection motivated me to create a voice, one that speaks to quality and luxury. This collection targets the fast growing community of fashion conscious men who want to make a fashion statement and wish to complement their female counterpart.” The young designer indicated that in conceptualizing his spring/summer collection, he wanted to make a bold statement and to ensure Jamaica takes its place on the global fashion stage. For this collection, Rowe has chosen to work with a variety of cotton blends combining some pieces with micro thin breathable plastic to create an appealing look for today’s professional and modern man.
His participation in the ‘Avant Garde Designer of the Year’ competition, the longest running design competition in the English speaking Caribbean, has afforded the young designer an opportunity to showcase his talents to a local audience; but he now has his sights set on tapping the international market, particularly the principal fashion capitals of London, Milan, New York and Paris.
Since he was adjudged winner in this competition earlier this year, Rowe says he has realized that the fashion industry is fast-paced and ever evolving. To this end, Andre has sought to keep abreast of development in the global industry by reading fashion blogs, magazines and websites to see and learn about new trends.
“To not keep up to date, is to risk being left behind,” notes Rowe.