(CMR) Caymanian designer Jawara Alleyne's SS 2024 Collection: A Captivating Ode to the Cayman Islands on the World Stage, which was presented at London Fashion Week, has received positive feedback, with Vogue Runway referring to his work as ‘cutting edge.'
Live from a decommissioned chapel in East London on the afternoon of 19 September, major fashion journalists, media personalities, and other luminaries converged to witness the independent debut of Jawara Alleyne. They received a revelation of a new wave in fashion dubbed “Island Underground”, coined by Jawara and inspired by his multifaceted heritage, life experiences, and the contemporary culture of the Cayman Islands. This revelation has since garnered reviews by several major fashion publications, including an unprecedented, all-positive review by Vogue Runway.
Vogue Runway reported, “Alleyne’s multifaceted design abilities result in intriguing shapes that can be as demure as they are cutting edge.”
Streetwear fashion authority Hypebeast caught on to the notable maritime influence and declared, “Jawara Alleyne's Secret SS24 Show Was a Nautical Fantasy.” Other reviews have come from Dazed Digital, Culted, 10 Magazine, PAUSE, HERO, and Women’s Wear Daily.
SS24 Beach Business runway show was set beneath a giant installation piece fashioned as a ship’s mast and sail. The sail referenced an abstract of Alleyne’s signature, hand-painted by local artist Stefan Langlois.
The main show took place in an intimate setting with no empty seats, filled with fashion journalists, editorial directors, stylists, top models, and a small Cayman Islands Government contingent, including UK Representative Dr. Tasha Ebanks-Garcia and Minister responsible for Youth, Heritage and Culture, Hon. Bernie Bush.
The show started with a thrilling dub poetry performance of “Shipwreck Interlude,” written and performed by Tafari Alleyne. After being catapulted into a sea of emotions by Jawara’s brother, the mysticism continued as 21 models emerged onto the runway, led by the sounds of dancehall/punk-rock music and draped in the key looks from Jawara’s Spring/Summer 2024 collection. Notable was the inclusion of 2 Caymanian models.
“It was important to me that this show had as many Caymanians as possible. From the model cast to production and management teams, we wanted to expose as many local young creatives to the industry to give them training and real-world experiences so they can see first-hand what the industry is actually like. Discovery and opportunity can only take place if you are in the right spaces,” explained Alleyne.
Alleyne’s discovery took place as a sixteen-year-old student of the John Gray High School when his design talent was discovered after being scouted to enter the Fresh Fashion Designer Showcase by the late Donna Reid, formerly of the Cayman National Cultural Foundation. Jawara went on to win the designer showcase and never looked back, amassing many accomplishments in his pursuits of elite artistry. Now, 17 years later, Jawara has successfully delivered his first stand-alone show at one of the most prominent and prestigious global stages in the fashion industry.
“It is both humbling and surreal to have my work and cultures acknowledged in this way. My work is a reflection of everything that makes me who I am. My unique perspective is the end result of all my experiences combined. In thinking about how I wanted to make my stamp on the fashion industry in my first stand-a-alone show, the birthplace of my self-discovery in fashion design was at the forefront of my thoughts. It was important to me to tell the untold story of the Cayman Islands streetwear culture through my mind’s eye,” Alleyne expressed.
Alleyne refers to himself as a quintessential island boy of the Caribbean. He was born in Jamaica, raised and schooled in the Cayman Islands, then migrated to the big city to pursue his dreams of becoming a designer.
In his technical show notes to all major fashion publications, the now London-based designer explained that his collection captured the creativity that island youth displayed through style to step away from the pack or sometimes blend in with an identity.
On returning to Grand Cayman earlier this year to work on a collaborative project with local brand Mutiny during Cayman Artweek, he was inspired to see another example of the rebellious spirit that inspired my work,” he says. “The project and Mutiny’s work reminded me that the spirit of rebels carries on within the islands.” This same spirit reverberates in the work he creates today, serving as a catalyst for his SS24 collection Beach Business.
Minister of Tourism and Transport, Hon. Kenneth Bryan, said, “I am thrilled to support Jawara Alleyne as he showcases to the world the amazing talent that resides in the Cayman Islands. His unique vision embodies the vibrant spirit of our beautiful islands, and I encourage all Caymanians to be inspired by his success. Jawara's passion, creativity, and dedication to his craft is a shining example of what can be achieved when we dare to dream and pursue our passions with unwavering determination.”
SS24 official sponsors are the Ministry of Tourism and Transport/Department of Tourism and the Ministry of Youth, Sports, Culture and Heritage.
For more info, visit www.jawaraalleyne.com and follow @jawaraalleyne on Instagram and Facebook.