Southern Caribbean shines at Suriname Fashion Week 2016

We at the Fashion Arch are definitely adding Suriname fashion week to our list of regional fashion events to attend! It was indeed an honour to be invited, not just to experience the fabulous fashion hosted by Jeweller, Warda Marica and Photographer, Helio Phoeli of Suriname N’ Style but also be one of the featured speakers at the opening night along with resident bloggers.

The 4th edition of Suriname fashion Week kicked off with a lively press and networking night where stakeholders, designers and sponsors all mingled at the lounge of the Courtyard Marriott Paramaribo. Designers were given the opportunity to showcase and speak on some of their pieces during the night,. Among the crowd were some Suriname socialites such as, Fashion and Lifestyle blogger, Olivia Samuel; TV host, Simone Verwey; Vlogger Jaleeza Weibolt (Totally Jay); Miss Tropical Beauties Suriname and the founders of Stitching Fashion and Art Suriname, a fashion and arts NGO.

The fashionable, curious and trendy were all out for the various nights and none left disappointed as they were wowed with various styles, colours and creations all inspired by the Caribbean and its culture and heritage. This year there were 21 designers reigning from Suriname, French Guiana, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago and St Lucia.

Surinamese designers who participated were Christel Nirk (clean cut womenswear with great construction), Warda Marica Jewelry (showcasing a sustainable, recycled collection using plastic bags – “ a metalsmith goes plastic”), Jewelry bar by Icana (intricate and unique pieces made with wood, precious stones and metals) with a special intro with breast cancer survivors coming out on motorcycles clad in bravery, strength, honour and the designer's new collection - We Believe in Pink. Binel Jewels (jewelry made of wood, seeds, natural materials), Saga Do Rose (inspired by Indonesian design), Tifen Akobe (inspired by the culture/maroons of Suriname), Cheryl Cedar (African and Surinamese inspired with great knit additions), Afrotoonz (streetwear), Carina Poleon aka Floh Jo (Crochet womenswear) Meredith Joeroeja (militant inspired urban wear) , and model turned designer Abraham Lienga who portrayed chic/goth trenches and tops for men and gowns with daring plunge lines for women.

Guest designers were Beverly D'Avril (French Guiana) with great vintage style; Carol Fraser giving us Roar with hand painted dresses, tunics, styled with leather accessories, Andy Cummings dazzled with a Victorian styled collection with lots of lace and layers, Ryan Berkeley showing a true fall collection mixed with neutrals, pastels and black with sexy silhouettes, Clinton Duncan with dramatic, sequined bridal and gala gowns, Isaiah Luther giving us retro with wide legged denim trousers, bold prints, tailored jackets, suede skirts and coloured leggings) all hailing from Guyana; Lyn Bristol with lively hand painted resort pieces (silk tops, cover-ups, dresses), Christine Samuel showcasing handmade bags (St Lucia), Naballah Chi with bold Afro and Indo inspired pieces for men and women with great styling along with young designer, Aaron Moneer with jumpsuits for men, tailored blazers and shirts with chic jumpers and dresses for women (Trinidad & Tobago).

The opening night had some strong collections, it was a small tease of what's to come and peaked our excitement for the coming days for the Gala and Couture nights. One observation/suggestion would be for the less experienced designers to possibly showcase their pieces used as “openers” for the networking night or have a special segment for them before allowing them to be a part of the opening or any main show. This would assist in maintaining the standard of SFW. Designers need to pay attention to their styling, having marketable lines, the way models portrayed their pieces (especially jewellery and accessories), construction and even the order in which their pieces came down the runway. The Gala night needed more of a punch to be a bit more impressive but the closing night, Caribbean Couture, was surely the crescendo needed to wrap up the runway shows with the designers from Guyana and Trinidad winning over the attendees.

Our faves were – Saga do Rose, Christel Nirk, Icana, Ryan Berkeley, Isaiah Luther, Lyn Bristol, Andy Cummings, Afrotoonz, Warda Marica, and Naballah Chi - for their quality, cohesive collections, styling, and even choice of songs for presentations! Fashion is a business and we applaud the organisers for hosting a BBQ and Pop Up that ensured that the public was able to meet, mingle and purchase from the participating designers. The relaxed atmosphere was a great ending to the previous hectic days and the comraderie among the designers was commendable.

SFW is a great product that has some kinks to be worked out but the event has the potential to be a great platform for its participants and models. Wishing them all the best for SFW 2017! Dank Je Suriname!

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