Drawing on the Hispanic and Mayan influences in her country, 18-year-old Belizean fashion designer Rebecca Stirm emerged the winner in a culture-inspired challenge in the second episode of Caribbean fashion designer reality series Mission Catwalk, filmed in Kingston, Jamaica on April 10.
Stirm and 14 other designers were instructed by host and executive-producer Keneea Linton-George to “create an outfit that reflects the style and culture” of their individual countries joined by “the common thread of independence.” The designers, who were given pointers from Season One winner Shenna Carby, had to apply their creativity within a short time frame and on a US$20 budget.
“I wanted a lot of material, so I looked in the curtain section,” said Rebecca. “I was able to get a lot of this very, very light; airy fabric for a little bit of money since we were on a tight budget. I added embroidery to give it some detail and intricacy.”
“Beautiful, dramatic, tasteful, stylish-I can feel the culture,” said Linton-George about Rebecca’s dress, which also impressed judges -Jamaica Observer Lifestyle Editor, Novia McDonald Whyte; menswear designer Carlton Brown and guest judge, Trinidadian actress Nadia Khan.
Rebecca (who calls her label Fancy Purple Paint) was the first of the show’s designers to win a challenge as no winner was declared in the previous episode where five contestants went home.
The next best design came from Barbadian Kerin Scott’s skirt and top combo which reflected the laid back beach culture of her island and the blue and yellow of the national flag. Jamaican Janel Jolly created an African-inspired chic casual dress while Trinidadian Ryan Chan delivered his version of a modern sari.
Jamaicans Crystal Powell, Keshon Hawthorne, Maria King-Beadle, Natalie Rochester as well as Barbadian/Trinidadian Janelle Forde and Ryan Berkeley of Guyana were given the opportunity to continue to next week’s show for what Hawthorne aptly described as a “second chance.”
In the bottom four were Trinidadian Shannon Kwong and Gregory Williams, Shellane McFarlane and Kimbally Smith of Jamaica. The final two came down to Shellane and Kimbally and the latter was cut for his poor interpretation, which according to McDonald-Whyte failed to impress.
Rebecca and the remaining 13 contestants are vying for JA$3 million in prizes including the chance to show at London Fashion Week.