Activities commemorating Caribbean Week took on greater significance this year. The event which formed part of Caribbean Heritage Month which is observed annually during the month of June, showcased some of the achievements of Caribbean people who have made the United States their home. It also served as a vehicle to promote activities of importance to the economic and social development of Caribbean people in the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut tri-state area.
Of tremendous significance this year is the celebration of the achievement of independence by both Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago from the United Kingdom 50 years ago. The golden anniversary was not lost on the organizers of several events which took place in New York City during Caribbean Week.
After 50 years of nationhood for Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, the global fashion industry has begun to see the Caribbean as a place that produces avant-garde fashion creations. This is the only way to describe the fashion collection previewed by Trinidad&Tobago fashion designer Anya Ayoung Chee, winner of Project Runway Season 9 entitled: “Colour + Sound”, which took place at the Empire State Building, one of New York City’s most notable edifices.
The invitation-only event brought together key players in the fashion industry in the Big Apple, as well as fashion watchers from the city and the Caribbean Diaspora. The media was very much in attendance at this ground-breaking event which also highlighted the attendance of members of government.
Beaming with the confidence that rewarded her with the first prize at Project Runway, Ms. Ayoung Chee also invoked a degree of patriotism which was very symbolic, given the milestone being celebrated by Trinidad and Tobago in 2012. With a very charming smile she remarked: “I look forward to representing my country on the world stage as I continue to grow my global fashion brand.”
She expressed delight in being able to present her Summer 2012 capsule collection in New York City, which is universally considered to be the fashion capital of the world.
Following the preview of the fashion collection, the specially invited guests expressed their fascination and interest in the work of the designer and also took the opportunity to mingle and partake of the refreshments available. The event was promoted by Antilia.
The Cayman Islands also brought a little piece of their culture to New York. The ambiance they created during their Caribbean Week exclusive reception, with the food, drinks, and live music with a band from Cayman Islands, made us forget for an hour that we are in New York.
They also took a different approach and showed the compassion of the Caribbean people by focusing on random acts of kindness. They looked around Manhattan for people doing something nice for others they do not know and then rewarded them for their good deeds. Among those earning recognition was an Upper West Side father who saved a woman’s life in a daring rescue. He jumped onto the tracks at the 72nd street station and saved the life of the 50-year-old woman, in front of his sons, ages six and seven, and his four-year old daughter. He was rewarded with complimentary airfare and tickets to the Cayman Islands.