Jamaica has been influential to global fashion since the 50s. After the second world war, when Jamaica was still part of the British Empire, many Jamaicans were invited to work in England. Before their arrival, locals often wore darker and subdued colours. Jamaica played a significant factor in bringing a brighter palette to British fashion.
In the 50s and 60s Jamaican men wore lean suits paired with thin ties and pork pie hats – the “Rude Boy” was born. This look inspired British pop bands such as the Beatles, who then influenced youth movements like the Mods, and later on Two Tone. During the 70s they took to wearing tracksuits and sportswear (Bob Marley is a visible example), resulting in sportswear becoming widely fashionable. During the 80s the sportswear style became more body conscious; brands such as Vivienne Westwood and Versace cited this in their collections. From Christian Dior to Puma, a list of brands have since used Jamaican motifs to sell their clothes and accessories.
To this day the Jamaican culture generates genuine and unique style, that continues to influence musicians, celebrities, and fashion designers around the world. Yet I feel due credit is not always given to this inspiring Island, and I hope to help push this through my work in the years to come.
I am creating a contemporary take of Jamaican fashion. A man wearing head-to-toe pink attire and colours in his hair could appear effeminate to some, but that is further from the truth. Sometimes the more femme and groomed a man looks, the more macho he actually is. Jamaicans value looking fine and unique.
I wanted to emphasise that mentality in this story featuring Tevin, an old friend, who I have shot over the years. He and his family run the “Jelly” coconut stall, in Portland, JA. He has now been picked up by Deiwight Peters of Saint models, signed around the world, and has walked for Saint Laurent in Paris. Jamaica is proud.
words by Savannah Baker & Ziggi Golding