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Jul 6, 2011

Haute couture at Design Week

Whether you are a fashionista or not, we recommend you head out to the Biltmore Plaza where emerging designers are displaying a range of fashion items. From ethnic styles to contemporary looks or hot trends, bags and hats; you can find it all at the Belize Design Marketplace. It’s the first of a kind and News Five’s Isani Cayetano also found out that the unique styles and professional craftsmanship can place the designers among well known labels.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Sartorial excellence is as much an important aspect of fashion design for industry enthusiasts as it is for the many stylists who have chosen to participate in the Belize Market Place.  To say that great attention to detail was paid in tailoring each article of clothing on display here is somewhat of an understatement where these designers are concerned.  Majority of what is being showcased was meticulously handcrafted.  The quality, one might argue, is also of international standard.

Victor Caliz Jr.

Forty-seven year old Victor Caliz Jr., founder of Jahta Xtreme, is one of several designers involved in Belize’s fledgling fashion industry.

Victor Caliz Jr., Founder, Jahta Xtreme Clothing

“We started as a Rasta-based clothing line but now we’ve diversified to everybody.  We have to reach out to everybody and actually I started from the womb because my father was a tailor and he never did give me no playtime.”

The unlikely designer, whose pieces have been featured internationally at fashion shows in Jamaica and the United States, came to be while incarcerated at the Central Prison where he sharpened his skill in the use of needle and thread.

Victor Caliz Jr.

“Working at the prison tailor shop da then ah really got the opportunity fi really ker it da di next level because di guys from prison they normally come fu mek ah like repair dehn jeans pants or repair dehn shirt or sew boxer shorts fi dem and then they would always doubt the work.  They normally doubt the work cause dehn would wahn know weh ah fix it from or weh paat ah hem it from because the work get done but then dehn cyan’t prove it and that really give me a sense that ah di do international work.”

The first of its kind expo, according to Kim Osborne, is quite remarkable as no details have been spared from the body of work being presented today.

Kim Osborne, OAS Country Representative, Belize

Kim Osborne

“I am truly impressed.  I think that we really have some very creative and talented people.  Our goal as an organization and to partner with NICH and BELTRAIDE is to harness that talent.  To really look at how we translate that talent into real economic opportunities for people.”

His Glory, a house established by Maureen Navarrete five years ago, specializes in couture.  This occasion has afforded her clothing line much needed exposure.

Maureen Navarrete

Maureen Navarrete, Designer, His Glory

“I’ve noticed for the past years [that] every event that I attend I gain more clients from that because people see the talent that is in me because what I try to do is sew something that they haven’t seen before then and to me, more than likely, more females like to look unique, right.  You wouldn’t want to look like somebody else [who] has on the same blouse so what I try to do is make my thing look intriguing and unique that they would want to buy it then.”

The economics and viability of fashion designing and clothing manufacture in Belize, although burgeoning, is not lost upon Osborne who has been integral in providing training and resource management for up and coming talent.

Kim Osborne

“We saw an opportunity to link with the tourism industry, one of the most prominent industries or income earners in Belize, and create a distinctive line of clothing that could be sold to the tourism industry that was created here.  We look at it as a socially conscious label because it was created by the women on the south side within a disadvantaged community and so we engaged in training, working on the design phase with women; looking at everything from patternmaking to sewing, to embellishing and what have you and having them come up with a high-end, high quality line of products.”

The handbags as well as their matching hats both with tattoo inspired imprints, custom-made by Elton Silva for Favorite Visions, are reminiscent to that of Christian Audigier’s Ed Hardy Collection.  Each impression is drawn and painted manually, intricately blending colors and themes.

Elton Silva

Elton Silva, Designer, Favorite Visions

“I like to do the bags, the paintings so I come with ideas and then I have ideas with my mother [and we] put it together.  [It’s] something different, something new.”

Isani Cayetano

“How has the reception been like from the public?”

Elton Silva

“It was good.  Others like my work and they like it.”

Belize Design Week may be a far cry from Fashion Week in Milan with runways being strutted by supermodels adorned in haute couture a la Prada, Chanel or Burberry Prorsum but the ready-to-wear clothing available from Jahta Xtreme are a step in the right direction in promoting the Jewel’s many artistic talents abroad.

Victor Caliz Jr.

“Ah gone da Jamaica last year, Caribbean Fashion Week 2010 and the Caribbean people, the Jamaican people love it.  They really love it, they appreciate the quality, they love the designs and then they really, really excited that what Belize?  Yes, Belize and so Belize deh out deh.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

The event concludes on Thursday with a fashion show of the exclusive designs.

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2 Responses for “Haute couture at Design Week”

  1. Vanny says:

    I am so impressed by the products that these designers have made. You guys are doing an amazing job. I would only wish that one of you would get a deal with an international deal. Keep up the good job guys.

  2. Sukora says:

    good evening,
    my name is sukora ingram , i am student in art school and i recently intern with this company in the states, and i would to discuss some business oppurinty, my family is from belize born and raise, i truly want to bring exposure to belize i truly proud of where i come from and i want the world to know where belize is, if there is anyway that we can discuss some marketing, please email me back . i would love to send some linesheets of the clothes my company makes and maybe we can talk bout selling these clothes out there.

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