JBDC (Jamaica Business Development Corporation) | Head Office: 14 Camp Road, Kingston, Jamaica | Incubator & Resource Centre: 76 Marcus Garvey Drive 1 876 928 5161-5 (Camp Rd.) | 1 876 758 3966-8 (IRC) info@jbdc.net

Festival of the Cloth


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JBDC pushes for development of local Textiles sector



Valerie Veira, CD, JP - Chief Executive Officer, JBDC

KINGSTON: Valerie Veira, Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) is calling on local designers in the fashion and gift & craft sectors to revive local textile production at a sustainable and commercially viable level. Miss Veira says the JBDC is kick starting the process of stimulating the ecosystem with a 3-part lecture series during the month of June dubbed Festival of the Cloth - “Conversations Across Continents, Cultural Retention and Mergers in Products and Processes”. The virtual sessions will be held on June 16, 23 and 30 featuring Jamaican and Nigerian experts.

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“We are encouraging small and large scale production of batik/ tie dye for domestic uses and exportation, as well as to promote the use of Jamaican fabrics with Jamaican pattern/motifs. It will enhance the creative MSME sector and entrepreneurship, particularly among designers and producers of fashion, textiles and accessories,” she explained.

Over the past two years, the JBDC has benefited from the Nigerian Technical Assistance Cooperation (TAC) programme, where two Nigerian experts were assigned to JBDC to impart new techniques impacting the fashion and gift and craft sectors. The intervention resulted in over 50 Jamaican artisans and designers attaining new skills in chasing & repousse, beading and fabric print using batik.

“During this intervention the cultural significance of the techniques used to tell stories and share cultural elements of the Nigerian heritage became evident. As a continuation of the programme, a more in-depth textiles programme is being proposed to develop a sustainable and commercially viable textile printing sector in Jamaica. This programme will seek to transform the skills learnt to create and perpetuate uniquely Jamaican designs and identity in hand printed fabrics that will tell our stories and preserve our culture. Although batik printing is not new to Jamaica, it has not been sustained as a continuous or widely accessed activity,” Miss Veira added.

Continuing, she pointed out that the tie-dye and resist method has long been a popular method for textile decoration on the west coast of Africa. Abeokuta, Ibadan and Oshogbo in Nigeria are popular places where this art form is still practiced. It is a tradition that has been passed on from generation to generation and provides a viable avenue for the women and youths to become productive members of society. This art form is taught in several institutions as well as informally in communities. While this method is known in Jamaica, the tradition does not exist. The opportunity exists to replicate some aspects of the Nigerian model among the creative community locally, to create economic benefits and entrepreneurial endeavors.

“With the results of the intervention of the TAC programme, the JBDC is now working to build this sustainability through a second phase, dubbed “Festival of the Cloth”. As such, the programme will now focus on creating multiple patterns/motifs that represent Jamaica’s culture, history and natural environment, used as a vehicle to project the country’s identity. This will enable us to further enhance the “Brand Jamaica” ethos and strengthen the “Designed and Made in Jamaica” spirit,” Miss Veira added.

The discussion series is scheduled as follows:
June 16, 2021 - The Spirit of Culture – Manifestation in Textile Designs and Accessories
June 23, 2021 - Jamaican Hands and Hearts – Encircling the Cradle of Brand Jamaica
June 30, 2021 - Moving Forward – Adire in a Yabba

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In the first session, panellists will explore the role culture plays in the development of the textiles industry in Nigeria through printed motifs, patterns and stories, the impact and influence of Nigeria on the Jamaican experience, as well as the importance of the use of printed textile in sustaining or expressing cultural identity of a people. Panellists include:
- Prof. Peju Layiwola - Artist and Art Historian, Department of Creative Art, University of Lagos
- Dr. Nike Okundaye - Batik and Adire Textile Designer (Nigeria)
- Amina Blackwood Meeks, Ph.D - College Orator/Lecturer, Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts
- Miriam Hinds-Smith - Dean of the School of Visual Arts, Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts
Registration is required for all sessions which will be hosted on Zoom between 10:00am and 12 noon.