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  • Writer's pictureKerry-Ann Clarke

#ThePinkBuilding Serves its Signature Caribbean Cool at MoDA Market 2023 Designer Showcase


model and influencer Alyshia Miller Powell poses in design by Liberian-born designer Korto Momolu
Korto Momolu poses with her creation on model, influencer and podcast host @millerpowell_alyshia

On the evening before MoDA Market was officially open, MoDA’s co-creators, Aiesha Panton and Kerry-Ann Clarke, as well as beauty partnerThe DB Glow, invited a select list of clientele for a preview fashion presentation of the international designers showing at MoDA Market 2023.


designers and models pose in a group shot at Jamaican fashion event
From left, Fast Lane Lifestyle's Alyshia Miller Powell alongside model Diane Brown in Korto Momolu creations next to the daring designer; MoDA’s fashion wrangler Kerry-Ann Clarke, smiling in a chic black number beside model Alicia Sewell showcasing her designer, Cesar Galindo, who stands to her left; stylish stylist and jewellery designer Bruce Brown poses next to Carlton Jones with his model, Maya Wilkinson, in one of his aqua-inspired pieces

Throughout the evening, the designers each highlighted five looks on their assigned models. Vincentian designer Kimone Baptiste-St. Rose arrived directly from the airport for the event but was excited to join the vendors at MoDA Market over the weekend.


“I’m really excited to be here again. I came straight from the airport and wanted to be here even though I was not able to showcase my collection this evening. For my brand, I design things that I myself would wear. I like to think of myself as a true Caribbean woman because our islands are so close together. I’m from the West Indies, and I want my collection to draw on that identity and highlight our similarities—our vibrance, our warmth, our traditions,“ the designer shared.


two jamaican black business women posing in fashionable outfits at chic event
Kerry-Ann Clarke hand-picks designers like Kimone Baptiste-St. Rose (on right) for the MoDA series each year.

For the three designers that did showcase, it was the perfect opportunity to connect with clients.


“What started my love affair with the Caribbean and planted the seeds for design was that I brought the first team of stylists to Kingston in 2000 to establish the very first Caribbean Fashion Week and reestablish it for the following five years. Over that time, I not only met the top designers in the Caribbean, I established my own clientele that inspired me to design what they wanted. They lived here, but they travelled all over the world and wanted clothes that travelled well while also appealing to a Jamaican aesthetic,” celebrity stylist and resort wear innovator Carlton Jones revealed the importance of his Jamaican clientele to his brand.


Asian-Jamaican model Maya Wilkinson posing in Carlton Jones resort wear look next to the designer
Jones’ pieces bridge resort-metropolitan dissonance

“The inspiration behind my latest collection is actually a print that I developed for myself for the first time. It’s based on a fish that I saw in the Grand Cayman. It gave a watercolour animal print vibe, and from there, I decided the rest of the colours and what would go with the collection,” Jones revealed of his latest masterpieces built for a seamless transition between resort and metropolis.


As per the usual flow of the MoDA series, guests would typically have been able to experience the collections at MoDA Runway and then shop the collections at MoDA Market, but this year started with a more intimate affair.


“MoDA Runway returns next year, but this year, we wanted to invite some of our clients to come and preview the collections as they would have done if we had a MoDA Runway. Then we conceptualised the idea around each designer being assigned to wear different looks from the collections throughout the evening as they mingle with guests,” Clarke, MoDA’s head of fashion, explained.


As the designers look toward another successful MoDA Market, some are also particularly excited about the opportunity to do the Kingston scene once again.


“When I come to Kingston, I feel like I’m in Liberia. I feel a connection and a peace. I always tell my friends, if we can’t go home, this is the next spot. Come to Kingston. The people and the food and the vibe are just raw and real. People at one point started thinking I was Jamaican, so I researched my ancestry, and I think I had like .5%, and I was like, I’m Jamaican! I’m Jamaican! Because I feel at one here with the people and the love they show me,” Liberian-born designer and Project Runway all-star Korto Momolu gushed.


MoDA and Jamaica are happy to once again welcome Momolu back to The Rock, especially after her difficult summer.


“My dad passed away in July, and I channelled the grief into my designs to kinda capture what the grief would look like to me in clothes. I always make very airy and flowing pieces, but I think this time, I really wanted to focus on the light, the dark, and the colour, just representing the moods that you might feel as you experience grief. There will be dark times, but you’re going to see joy again,” Momolu said of her latest collection dubbed 'Ink and Ivory: A Tale of Joy and Pain'.


The collection also features some unisex pieces, like an uber-dapper and equally chic wool blazer with a bird-embellished ankara.

model poses in African-inspired wool blazer with ankara detailing by designer Korto Momolu
African motifs like the ankara fabric detailing on the blazer is a Korto Momolu signature

Momolu tapped into menswear this year, bringing her artfully structured, African-inspired designs to a wider clientele. The designer has been a MoDA collaborator since its inception. Her go-to runway stylist, Bruce Brown, debuted as a vendor at this year's MoDA Market with his Tribe Aesthetic accessory line.


jewellery designer showcasing his fashion jewellery collection
Bruce Brown creates layered perspectives with his dynamic pieces highlighting his mastery of texture contrast

“I’ve been working for Korto now for the past two decades. Usually, when we do MoDA, we’re doing MoDA Runway and MoDA Market, so I would normally style her fashion collection, and then we would actually sell those pieces at the market. So this year, those items you’d see styled on her pieces for MoDA Runway will still be there at MoDA Market, and even though there is no runway tonight, we also get to show the accessories styled on a few of the pieces,” Brown explained.


Mexican-American designer Cesar Galindo was also representing one of his creative partners. Along with looks from his collection curated specifically for the islands, Galindo also brought along a few artful print pieces from Shawna McGee, a textile artist and creative collaborator.


For Galindo’s own collection, the designer curated looks that were perfect for the local climate. The designs are infused with Galindo’s love for colour and prints, which, along with his present locale, is a constant source of inspiration for the designer.


black model in cesar galindo floral print dress posing in front of jamaican-themed jigsaw puzzles
The curated pieces from Galindo’s collection were perfect for the Caribbean climate

“When I return home, I’ll jump into designing next year’s fall/winter collection, and hopefully, I’ll be able to channel some of the inspiration I feel whenever I visit Jamaica,” Galindo shared.


The feast of fashion was paired with wine courtesy of CPJ, who used the showcase to herald its new line of Fantinel Tenuta Sant'Helena wines.


wine maker talks with Jamaican track star Asafa Powell at fashion event showcasing wines
Marco Fantinel (left), CEO of Fantinel Wines, and Jamaican track legend, Asafa Powell, alongside CPJ’s Tom Tyler

The event included a sultry live performance from soul crooner Sarah Couch, who delivered stripped-back renditions of tracks like 'Moisturise' and 'Set it Off' from her 2023 EP, 'What Do We Know'.



Scoring for the evening also came via Locale's resident DJ, Renée "Iren Siren" Mahrun.


female rasta Jamaican DJ posing next to her equipment at Jamaican fashion event
Iren Siren kept the vibe lit with her cool house mixes.

 

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