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Local Creative Industry receiving boost

Local Creative Industry receiving boost

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Local designers are demonstrating that the money the National Investment Promotions Inc. (NIPI) and the Centre for Enterprise Development (CED) invests in their craft is money well spent. At a press conference held on Tuesday, December 2, representatives from both companies outlined the successes of these designers and plans for further development and investment.{{more}}

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the international trade in creative goods and services is worth a whopping US$424.4 billion. Export Development Officer Shanna Browne believes that it is high time that our local industry receives a chunk of that pie. “Our fashion/creative industry has been underdeveloped.”

Also present were six local designers who have attended fashion shows and workshops throughout the year – thanks to the financial assistance of NIPI, the EU, CED and local financial institutions. They included Karen DeFreitas-Fraser, Lisa Cordice, Ingrid John, Kimya Glasgow, Kimon Baptise and Tamiko Browne. Speaking to the press, the designers all agreed that the year had been stressful and frustrating but ultimately very rewarding. “These shows are not vacations… it’s hard work!” Baptiste declared. They spoke of the exposure, experiences and knowledge they had gained and the links they had forged with buyers and other influential individuals. Additionally, they were full of gratitude to the NIPI, CED and their families and friends for the financial and emotional support they had received.

The two youngest designers, DeFreitas-Fraser and Cordice, related that they had been somewhat overwhelmed as the regional shows they attended this year had been their first. DeFreitas-Fraser expressed that her leap from being a teacher at the Intermediate High School to showcasing her work on regional catwalks had been a real eye-opener.

Baptiste and Browne increased Vincentian pride by scooping awards at fashion shows they participated in. At the Caribbean Fashion Awards (April 12, 2008) held in Trinidad & Tobago, Baptiste won the award for Country Designer of the Year. Similarly, Browne scooped two awards at the Islands of the World Fashion Week (November 5 – 8, 2008) held in the Bahamas – Next Generation Designer award and the Cultural & Fashion award. These awards will entitle Browne to a scholarship at a fashion institution in Los Angeles and an internship with an international design house.

Facilitated by her participation in fashion shows and exhibitions around the Caribbean, Ingrid John, the only accessories designer at the press conference, announced that she is set to export her designs to retailers in Barbados and Aruba. Kimya Glasgow beseeched locals to support local designers over ordering clothing online because she believes that it contributes to supporting the local economy. “It’s important to have a diverse market… it’s not just about selling.”

Public Relations Officer of the CED Business Gateway Keisha Philips congratulated the designers on their successful participation at the various fashion shows. “St Vincent has the potential to go far in the creative industry. We’re here to ensure that the sector places itself in a position to be more competitive,” she added.

In material released by NIPI, it stated that the company “…foresees more promotion of this sector and others in the creative industry.” NIPI also intends to collaborate more with CED and the Ministries of Tourism and Culture. Export

Development Officer Shanna Browne promised that local designers would receive more international exposure in 2009.

NIPI Marketing Officer Cleo Huggins and Angenella Young, NIPI Research Assistant, also gave remarks. (JSV)