FIX IT JESUS, TSO FLOPS AGAIN.
Jamaicans love excitement. We love to be a part of the conversation and we love attention. Maybe I’ve been getting it wrong all along but I thought that we also loved money. Last week’s TSO activities were messy scenes of tired store clerks, over zealous marketing peeps and off-target brands way in over their heads. This year has been a trying one for my relationship with the “Jamaican Fashion industry”, and with two major fashion showcases left, I’m over it. I am tired of seeing talent wasted in everyone's not so valiant effort to entertain the Rock’s elite with fancy fashion shows. But before I get lost in a passion piece let me just get right into taking style out… of Jamaica.
There comes a time when we must heed a certain call and do the right thing. (Yes, I did just reference “We are the World”, deal with it). When we’re forced to take stock of the absence of people in the streets and stores on a TSO night - “some betta dan none” just won’t fly anymore. In Jamaica we lack strategy. We lack vision and visual on what is appropriate and feasible. We have fifty million business marketers and educated people running our brands and I’m not knocking their hustle but it’s time to call a spade a spade.
Jamaica Yellow Pages presents ‘The Fashion Directory’ - an unparalleled look at local design talent. This is and was an insult. What does it all mean? The Fashion directory? An amazing shopping experience? an unparalleled look? Dry booths of designers’ old stock, a massive runway, a small vip section and a handful of passerbyers standing at attention (to Beenie Man’s live set) is an unparalleled look inside an air filled bag of chips. Sometimes our noses get pushed too far down the rabbit hole and we end up hurting more than we’re helping, despite our intentions. I’d like to believe that this was the case.
Audi Takes Style Out - Designs through time. Again, another insult but thankfully a waste of not too many people’s time. 20 or so guests exhausted from waiting for mojitos from a bartender stuck in slowmotion does not “a stylish journey through time” make. The place looked good, I’ll give it that… the designs too, but what was the goal? Not only do I not see what I (a patron) gets from attending an event like this but I also can’t guess how Audi benefited either. A room full of people on your payroll and others who are highly familiar with your brand but will never talk about it or buy a car from you is a waste of time, money and potential. And don’t tell me that Jamaica Observer is their sister company so they were just showing support. Supportive of what exactly? The ‘event’ lacked meaning and impact.
Sidenote: I sure hope this month both JYP and ATL has plans to do something charitable for the big pink. You want to be on the lips of our people and new potential consumers? give us something, anything of some value!
I don’t know if behind these brands are fairies and knights living out their childhood dreams but if so please wake up and do your Jobs. Think harder, smarter and come up with real strategies. Stop using Jamaican Fashion as your trick pony, after-all we seemingly only have one trick - designing amazing looking and unsellable clothing. And no, I don’t care which company wants to throw their money and time behind foolishness but I do care very much when the design industry is being taken for a ride going nowhere. It’s one thing to waste all that money you corporate companies make on meaningless bashes but designers are not here for your unpaid entertainment and pointless gallantry.
All these business of fashion seminars, design programs and workshops and we still have not found a fiscally feasible module from which our design industry can thrive. And quite frankly I’m beginning to fear that there’s no ambition left among our once most promising creatives, or at least not as much. Is this the pinnacle? - invites to present collections in car showrooms and on devon house’s north lawn. Why? to again be featured in one or two newspaper articles and on TV shows… really? Don’t you want to sell? Don’t you want to make money? Don’t you want grow famous for selling and making money? Tell me now so I can stop playing hero to a people who may not even want more than unusable fame.
Last night was again more about lukewarm entertainment and not so much about a day of concentrated commerce. This is the concept that TSO/FNO is built on and the disconnect has grown extremely and unavoidably obvious. Sad part? the powers that be seems to lack the care and or actual capability needed to turn our design operations into a thriving industry. I’m a blogger, I can blog about anything happening anywhere. BUT, half my colleagues are designers, quarter of them are models and the rest are fashion photogs, make-up artists and stylists, and THIS is for them. The plythe to -for once- demystify the so-called success of these things and start a conversation on how we can do it right. So, don’t just read this pissy piece, share it, comment on it, agree or disagree. Whatever you do don’t just stay silent.