Amidst talks about value chain development strategies for Micro, Small & Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs), one local entrepreneur is making a case for its use in boosting exports within the cultural and creative industries (CCIs). Interior Designer, Karen Booker of Dezign Diva Lifestyle made the call for more collaboration to enable growth within craft and fashion value chains while speaking recently at the Jadire Fashion & Artisanal Showcase hosted by the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) at its Incubator & Resource Centre in Kingston.
Booker said, “The Jadire fabric stands as a symbol of cultural heritage and craftsmanship, and it holds immense potential for economic growth through strategic export development.” However, she asserts that for this potential of economic growth to be realised, stakeholders must appreciate the importance of value chain development not only in agriculture, but also in the creative and cultural industries.
She continued, “A strong value chain ensures that each step in the production process adds substantial value to the final product, from raw materials to the finished Jadire fabric. By investing in technology, skills training, and infrastructure, we can elevate the quality of our products, making them not only culturally rich but also globally competitive”.
Jadire is a style of tie-dye batik fabric, a fusion of Nigerian and Jamaican design techniques. The ‘J’ in Jadire means Jamaica and the ‘Adire’ is the Yoruba word for ‘tie and dye’. The Jadire was introduced to Jamaica in 2021 through a partnership with the Nigerian High Commission, and the name coined by Alao Luqman, Nigerian cultural diplomat working at the JBDC.
Booker points out that collaboration between artisans who make the fabric and transform the fabric into
fashion and other pieces is paramount, “Collaboration is key in developing a successful value chain. We need to forge partnerships between local artisans, manufacturers, and exporters, fostering an ecosystem that promotes innovation and efficiency. By working together, we can streamline production processes, enhance product quality, and ultimately create a seamless flow from creation to export.”
Through the Jadire fabric, JBDC is encouraging production of batik/ tie-dye for domestic uses and exportation, as well as to promote the use of Jamaican fabrics with Jamaican pattern/motifs. This will enhance the creative MSME sector and entrepreneurship, particularly among designers and producers of fashion, textiles and accessories. Since 2021, JBDC has trained over 100 artisans and designers in Jadire. Since then, several of these creatives have since commercialised.
Pieces from the collections of 10 of these artisans were showcased in the Jadire Meets Contemporary Home Décor segment of the event led by ‘Dezign Diva’, Karen Booker. The aim of this session was to show how the contemporary form of the African-Jamaican style of batik can be used to transform the home. The Incubator & Resource Centre was fully draped with Jadire prints and adorned locally made wall arts, mats and other pieces.
Also on the agenda were the Jadire Meets Contemporary Fashion featuring a spin-off of the popular social media feature ‘Get Ready With Me’ (GRWM) session which included entertaining presentations by Fashion Designers Kittana Smith and Dane Mclean. Metal Beats, a demo session on Jewellery techniques was, led by Donna Gay Uter, Product Development Specialist at the JBDC.
The Jadire Fashion Show featuring designs from Tribe Nine Studios, Janseen Graham, Simone Gordon and other fashion designers saw the contemporary Jadire styled and modelled to close the show.
The Jadire Fashion & Artisanal Showcase held under the theme, D.R.I.V.E – Developing Rich Industry Value Chains for Export, is part of the JBDC’s thrust to support the export push being led by the Ministry of Industry, Investment & Commerce (MIIC).