FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: AUGUST 2, 2022
KINGSTON, Jamaica – The local fashion industry found its way to the centre of discussion hosted by the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) at its JBDC ‘In Concert’ forum where fashion experts within the Jamaican industry rallied around the need for sustainability and the use of technology as answers for the needs of the industry. The conversation was held on July 28, 2022 under the theme: “Bespoke in an Online World –Cut-To-Fit…Hit or Miss.”
The experts zoned in on the trends being observed in the industry as well as how local fashion practitioners can help to position Jamaica as global fashion brand. Janine Fletcher-Taylor, Manager – Marketing Services Unit, JBDC who moderated the discussion, said “Two critical points that have been brought up are the need for sustainable business practices and sustainable fashion production as a positioning strategy as well as the coupling of ancient fashion skills with modern techniques as ways to make ourselves competitive on the global market.”
Mrs. Keenea Linton George championed the need for sustainable fashion as the answer for the industry to recover from the pandemic and gain ground globally. Speaking on the sub-topic ‘The Road to Recovery: Reigniting Old Talent for New Business’ Mrs. Linton-George said, “It is important that we begin to look to old skills, such as various artisanal crafts, crotchet, hand-weaving and making our own durable material as sustainable methods to use in fashion.” Continuing on the need for sustainability Mrs. George said, “The landfills cannot sustain the waste we are creating from fashion. Though this is a trillion-dollar industry, we are also one of the largest creators of waste and something has to be done about that and I believe sustainable fashion is the answer.”
Mrs. Laura Lee Jones- Acting Head of Department, Applied Art, Edna Manley College, chimed in on the discussion to talk about the future of the fashion industry and preparing the next generation of practitioners. In her remarks, Mrs. Jones shared that there can be no conversation about the future without talking about sustainability. She said, “The Harvard Business Review in 2021 says an active consciousness about reducing the environmental footprint and trimming the operational waste is going to be front and centre for any business. Therefore, for the next generation of fashion practitioners, that has to be front and centre.”
Digital and technological advancement also rose to the fore as another means through with the local fashion industry can begin to experience measures of success and position itself as an established global brand. Panellists explored the various ways technology can be applied to the industry whether in retailing or production.
Robert Hall, Fashion Expert-JBDC, highlighted the importance of the industry capitalising on the gift of the digital space. He said, “It is time for us in Jamaica to begin to centralise digital and understand that these are real spaces that we can advance industries like fashion. Because of course we know that in the digital space there are very little barriers, whereas before persons would have to travel to a tradeshow versus now looking at your work online.”
Mrs. Laura Lee-Jones pointed out, “The future generation in fashion, must know that technology is going to become even more integrated into what we do and any student that is coming in now has to understand that it is not just creativity and passion that is going to set them apart but they have to consider how technology is going to help them build their brand.”
The JBDC ‘In Concert’ is a forum convened on a bi-monthly basis for entrepreneurs within the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) to discuss relevant subject matters that concern various industries. These conversations help to equip entrepreneurs within the Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise (MSME) sector with tools and perspectives to inform decision-making within the various industries.