“I have always had a love for art and repurposing clothes. As a child my father would always bring home remnants of fabric from factories for me to practise on. Using them, I would make outfits and drawstring bags which I would sell,” designer Judith Gayle shared with All Woman Fashion (AWF). That was how it all started. Gayle's foray into handbags, however, was the result, she said, of needing a bag to complement an ensemble. “I had a special occasion to attend and with little time and resources, I had to make an outfit. With reservation, I decided to wear my burnt orange bridesmaid dress and green pumps. I already had a green burlap hat so I needed a bag to complement my look. I rummaged to find remnants of floral fabric from the maid-of-honour's dress as well as burlap from the hat. Necessity became the mother of invention! I then removed the handles from an old straw bag and immediately got to work.”
There were praises for her outfit but she says, “It was the hat and handbag that got the most attention.”
Gayle took the positive feedback as a sign to expand her design talent and made a few more, using African print and took them to the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), of which she was a client, to have them assessed. They were impressed enough to want them as part of the Brand Jamaica collection capsule which was housed at Jamaica House during the 2012 Summer Games in London, and encouraged her to create a label. “I was told that my designs were 'dainty'; however, in consultation with my facilitators at JBDC they suggested that my designs were more 'exquisite'. Using Judz, an abbreviated version of my name Judith, I added my identity to the brand and Judz Exquisite Designs was incorporated.
“I have been a registered business since 2014 and have had the opportunity to showcase Judz Exquisite Designs hats, bags and clutches on many platforms, from Things Jamaican stores, events hosted by the US Embassy, the Jamaica Diaspora Conference, to National Bakery. With burlap hats and clutch purses in tow, I am broadening my horizon by researching the use of new textiles, designs and techniques for my handbags and clutches. This will ensure that Judz Exquisite Designs will remain relevant in the fashion and creative industries.
“I owe a debt of gratitude to the JBDC family and my own family and supportive friends.”
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