Fashion Design Competition For Carnival 2017

April 10, 2017
Julianne Lee (centre), director of Jamaica Carnival, with a bevy of soca beauties.

Julianne Lee gives 'Edna' students a shot at the road

Students at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts will get the opportunity of a lifetime as they vie for the chance to have their costume design hit the streets in the highly anticipated carnival road march later this month.

The project is the brainchild of Jamaica Carnival's Julianne Lee, who, after witnessing first-hand the talent and dedication of fashion students at the performing arts institute, decided to partner with lecturer Gianna Fakhourie to bring some of that talent to the streets of Kingston.

Students between the ages 18 and 24 were asked to create prototypes of costumes. Those prototypes were assessed and eight students were given the opportunity to showcase a costume that highlighted what carnival meant for them, with a Jamaican flavour.

"Edna Manley's involvement was part of my vision and a passion I have to showcase talented Jamaicans," Lee told THE STAR. "I believe Jamaicans on a whole are a beautiful people. We create and display magic in many different formats. After witnessing some of that magic for myself, the seed was planted and it inspired me to want to start a fashion design competition for Carnival 2017."

Students were asked to submit a YouTube video outlining what or who inspires them as an artist. Lee says the competition has already surpassed the expectations.

"I was reduced to tears when I saw the designs, because these young people are just amazing. I foresee that in two to three years, Jamaica will be able to manufacture and produce costumes of world-class standards," she said. "The students were touched that we considered them and gave them the opportunity to express themselves and show that they have a contributing value in this space."


Lee also expressed gratitude to Fakhourie, as she says the lecturer managed to make her vision a reality.

"She has been a God-sent and a blessing, because what she has done is added structure to our vision," Lee said. "We at Jamaica Carnival and the Byron Lee Foundation take great pride in doing this and fuelling this drive to support local talent. We are very proud that we did not just speak about this, but actually put our money where our mouth is, as this initiative is fully underwritten by the foundation. We pride ourselves in giving back and allowing people to come together because that is what carnival is. It's about community building and involving the people every step of the way."

In the coming weeks, the designs will all be completed and judged based on the criteria given. The students are also vying for a cash prize of $60,000 to be shared among the first-, second- and third-place winners.

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