My entire life, some 60 years, has been spent in garment manufacturing. It has allowed me to live in many countries around the world and has fed and educated my sons. And so a part of my life can never not be designing and sewing.
Inspiration behind her caftans…
Way back, as a child when we had many Indian shops selling saris from India in Kingston, I fell in love with the silk and at that time 24- carat gold thread border. I started collecting saris and my first trip to India sealed my passion for them. Back then I would never have had the courage to put scissors to them. My caftans were inspired by the collection of saris accumulated over the years from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Italian designer Valentino Garavani, better known as Valentino, is my favourite designer. I met him in Rome when he was 18 years old, showing his first collection in Rome. I subsequently had the pleasure of spending an entire day at his salon on top of the Spanish Steps in Rome seeing firsthand how his couture collection was sewn and finished. Quality workmanship using the world's best fabrics is his credo. It has become mine, too.
My caftans are all hand-made by me. Quality workmanship in sewing and finishing, let me repeat, are a must.
My latest project is in trimming my caftans with hand embroidery done in Jamaica 30 to 40 years ago. These hand embroiderers are extinct, so I'm using the embroidery from whatever source they can be found: photos, belts or hand towels.