Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Monday | November 19, 2012
Home : Flair
Designing women
Sacha Walters-Gregory, Staff Reporter

Distribution is an art that some local Jamaican designers have learnt to perfect but what works for some does not work for others. Should they distribute through boutiques or directly from the source?

"Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't," said designer Lisa McIntosh, who designs under the name NeahLis, of distributing her pieces in outside boutiques.

"I've done it in the past," said McIntosh, who has been designing for 10 years. However, she found she had to create completely unique pieces for those boutiques.

"Otherwise customers feel, why should I pay double when Lisa has it in her store for less?" she said.

Currently, McIntosh distributes her pieces herself through her own storefront on Ardenne Road, because it allows for a more intimate knowledge of her customers.

"It's best to come to the designer and him or her do their alterations," said McIntosh, pointing out that it's mutually beneficial to customer and designer.

She noted that while businesses may not be booming, women are still buying clothes.

"Women are buying clothes, but they want to feel that the pieces they have are unique," she said, adding that a sale with good bargains will always bring patrons in and keep you afloat.

McIntosh, whose designs were included in some of the episodes of America's Next Top Model which were recently filmed in Jamaica, is also a stylist and a hairdresser. She also styled the show's host, Tyra Banks, for the show. McIntosh noted that it is beneficial to have a skill to fall back on considering the competitive nature of fashion design, which for her is hairdressing, her first love.

reaping success

For designer Shenna Carby, however, distributing through boutiques has been reaping success.

"I find it very interesting because it allows me to design for a completely different client base," said Carby who got a jump-start in her otherwise young career when she entered local, made-for-TV fashion competition 'Mission Catwalk' in 2011. She won the competition and one of the perks of the competition was getting the opportunity to show her line at Miami Fashion Week.

"That collection really got me noticed for ready to wear," said Carby, highlighting that the exposure allowed for the owners of two boutiques Foot Candy Couture on Hilcrest Avenue and No.7 boutique on Montrose Road.

"I started to make ready-to-wear pieces and they really loved it," said Carby who now has the opportunity to design for more conservative, yet fashionable women in their 30s and older.

"I still do one-of-a-kind pieces," said Carby, for which she is known, but these pieces allow for more flexibility in terms of use.

"People still buy clothes, but now people are gravitating towards designer wear," said Carby, to get a better fit. "There's hope in the business."


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