Saint hopefuls go marching

By Brian Bonitto
Associate Editor —
Auto & Entertainment
bonittob@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, March 17, 2018

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THIS evening 58 contestants — 28 females and 30 males — will vie for an opportunity to be part of the high-flying Saint International model agency in the Jamaica Avant Garde Designer of the Year Contest and the Fashion Face of the Caribbean Model Competition finals.

Scheduled for the Courtleigh Auditorum in New Kingston, the event is billed to start at 9:00 pm.

Saint International CEO Deiwght Peters spoke to Jamaica Observer in an exclusive interview about the Fashion Face of the Caribbean search.

“Contestants are from Jamaica, Bahamas, and Guadeloupe; truly regional contest. In fact, Saint currently represents models from Trinidad, Suriname, Guadeloupe, Martinique, (and the) United States — the only model agency ever to do so in the English-speaking Caribbean. The contest reflects the objective,” said Peters.

The CEO said more than 14 international agents have confirmed that they were coming to the event, which his company has been hosting since 2000. He said the contest has been yielding dividends and this is visible on the international stage.

“Firstly, I have a unique way of not only discovering but also identifying star potential. Saint has taken the time to refine and master the art of scouting the best new faces and develop a powerful global network of connections that can take a model from virtual unknown to global superstar virtually overnight... The fascinating thing about the Fashion Face is that more than just the winners go on to super-stardom. Tami Williams was not a winner and is now the only Jamaican model ranked in the top 50 Models of the World. Certainly, winners such as Shena Moulton of 2007 still have bright international careers. She has been a face for Marc Jacobs and has a record appearance as a black model on the Calvin Klein runway. 2015 winner Brandon Bailey has become an international star. Brad Allen was not a winner and went on to become the face of Polo Ralph Lauren and has one of the most impressive runway résumés of any male model from Jamaica with names such as Givenchy and Balmain among his clients. Other models like Jonathan “Jonny B” Brown and Jermaine Downer, who were not winners, are now bona-fide global fashion stars appearing for clients such as JW Anderson, Prada, Coach and Wales Bonner. Barbra Lee Grant was not a winner but is now one of the stars of Saint, being a global face for the prestigious Balenciaga campaign. She recently demonstrated her star power during the Fall 2018 Collections appearing for Balenciaga, Michael Kors, Gareth Pugh and more. Barbra started her career on a historical note appearing as a world debut exclusive for Alexander McQueen February 2015. So, indeed the contest extends beyond the winners. An even more recent power to that point is that Christine Willis who was not even a runner-up was directly booked by Saint as the world exclusive for Balenciaga runway show in September 2017 and is now a campaign face for the brand.

“Other winners that have done exceptionally well include Christina Knight (2012) who appeared for Rihanna's Fenty Beauty campaign. Korey Rowe (2011) has delivered his success in the South African market,” said Peters.

“It has achieved its mandate by discovering, developing and successfully placing and managing models internationally from across the region. Principally too, the objective using the platform to recruit the faces that would help the drive to diversify the runways of the world has been achieved. Only this week, the globally respected DAZED Magazine acknowledged we were the Jamaican agency diversifying the world's biggest runways. With eight models walking the same Balenciaga Fall runways in Paris, Saint is in a league of its own! That singular moment made me realise how much of a global force Saint has become,” he continued.

The Avant Garde Designer of the Year Contest has 12 designers vying for $50,000 in cash prize.

“The designs for the competition will be inspired by the brand essence of glamour and high-style linked to Campari. There is also a Campari design tribute with three former winners doing a special Campari piece. It will be glitz galore,” he said.

Last night's curtain-raiser, the glitzy Campari VIP Red Glamour Galaxy Reception, was held at Spanish Court in New Kingston.

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