29 May 2024

Sixteen Young Caribbean Designers Debut Their Creations in Havana

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Havana, 8 May 2024. In an evening filled with creativity and style, sixteen young Caribbean designers showcased their fashion collections at the ‘Fashion in da House’ fashion show, held at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana, Cuba. The event was organized as part of the European Month in Cuba by UNESCO, under the programme Transcultura: Integrating Cuba, the Caribbean and the European Union through Culture and Creativity. This initiative, funded by the European Union, aims to boost the Cultural and Creative Industries in the region.

Finalists of the Fashion Design Contest ‘Made in the Caribbean’ captivated the audience with their innovative creations. Hailing from Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Guyana, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago, these talented youngsters demonstrated the richness and diversity of Caribbean fashion.

Karen De Freaitas, from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, won the Jury’s Special Mention in the Fashion Design Competition #Made_In_TheCaribbean in Havana UNESCO H. Bejerano

‘By supporting young designers and promoting the local industry, events like “Fashion in da House” can foster economic growth, from more ethical and responsible practices to contribute to the sustainability and well-being of the Caribbean’, affirmed Anne Lemaistre, Director of the UNESCO Regional Office in Havana, in her opening remarks.

Designers Rhea Cummins Jordan, from Barbados, and Naballah Chi, from Trinidad and Tobago, clinched the Transcultura Awards for Best Fashion Design Collections. Karen De Freitas, from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, got the Special Mention. The jury was composed of Omoyemi Akerele (Nigeria), Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Lagos Fashion Week; Meta Štular (Slovenia), Director of Rog Centre; Javier Fernández Poyo (Spain), Innovation Expert, and Carmen Gómez Pozo (Cuba), Director of Registration and Professional Development at the National Design Office of Cuba.

Rhea Cummins-Jordan, from Barbados won the Transcultura Award in the Fashion Design Competition #Made_In_TheCaribbean in Havana UNESCO H. Bejerano

Additionally, the audience voted for their favourite collection on social media and during the show, for Genesis Vazquez from the Dominican Republic to win the Transcultura People’s Choice Award. The winners will be awarded with a two-month artistic residency at the Rog Centre in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in the summer of 2024, as part of the Transcultura Awards.

‘Winning this award, representing Trinidad and Tobago, is very important to me as I feel recognized for my work and designs. I am very grateful for this opportunity, because with Transcultura, UNESCO and the European Union are supporting young fashion designers to develop themselves, grow their careers and their brands as Caribbean designers,’ said Naballah Chi. 

Naballah Chi- Trinidad and Tobago/ Image: UNESCO/H.Bejeramo

The catwalk show is part of a programme of professional support activities that include workshops, advice, keynote lectures and familiarisation with business models in the fashion sector. The goal is to professionalize the Cultural and Creative Industries so that young talent can develop locally.

The names of the young Caribbean designers who participated in the runway show are as follows:

•           Abigail Mitchell (Saint Lucia)

•           Anita Frazer (Jamaica)

•           Dayana Valdés Cureau (Cuba)

•           Genesis Vasquez (Dominican Republic)

•           Ivanis Agustín (Cuba)

•           Karen De Freitas (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines)

•           Mikayla Salmon (Jamaica)

•           Mildred Henry (Dominican Republic)

•           Naballah Chi (Trinidad and Tobago)

•           Navado Dawkins (Bahamas)

•           Nicoya Henry (Antigua and Barbuda)

•           Pearlita J. Richardson (Guyana)

•           Ranyer Valenzuela (Dominican Republic)

•           Rhea Cummins-Jordan (Barbados)

•           Ronelli Requena (Belize)

•           Taliah Wright (Bahamas)

About the Transcultura programme

With financial support of 15 million euros from the European Union, Transcultura represents UNESCO’s most ambitious cooperation initiative in the Latin America and Caribbean region. It aims to create professional opportunities for young people in the Cultural and Creative Industries, through exchange and cooperation in the Caribbean and with the European Union. The 17 beneficiary countries of Transcultura are Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenade, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. 

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