My Kingston - Gregory O'Brian Williams
Mission Catwalk Season Two Winner
What is your earliest memory of Kingston?
My earliest memory of Kingston is at age six. I think back then, Kingston was not as beautiful as it is now; it had a more rustic look, but in a good way. There were not as many things to do then. Now the city feels more fresh and there's more fun to be experienced.
What is your most memorable meal in Kingston?
I loved the 'stamp and go' at Christopher's. It was excellent.
What would be your advice to a first-time visitor to Kingston?
I would recommend the Spanish Court Hotel; I love it there. I would also recommend Scotchies... it has a great Jamaican vibe and feels like you're in the country. For entertainment, I would suggest a night out at Fiction and of course, I would recommend a party downtown.
How does it feel to be declared the winner of the second season of Mission Catwalk?
It feels great, knowing that it didn't happen easily. I fought for it. All the designers were creative. It was stressful and I cried a lot, many people don't know that.
What was the most challenging moment for you on the show?
The most challenging moment for me was the challenge when we visited Hope Zoo and had to design an outfit inspired by an animal. I chose the snake. With that challenge, I couldn't use a fabric that had a snake print so I had to incorporate the snake into the outfit and it was very difficult because I wanted the outfit to have the feel of a snake going down the runway. In order to do that, I had to do a lot of thinking and capture the movement and have people relate to it.
Share with us the title of the last book you read.
I am a magazine person. Vogue and Elle are my bibles. The last book I remember reading was The Encyclopedia of Fashion. I was looking at where designers found inspiration and discovered the cape and realised it was timeless. I incorporated it in my final collection for the show for Caribbean Fashion Week.
Did you watch yourself each week on the show at home?
I did. I felt good looking back and seeing that I handled myself professionally. I wasn't as bitchy as people thought I would have been. I didn't mock persons and only laughed at the jokes that the judges made of the contestants.
Are there any fashion-related shows you enjoy watching?
Fashion Hunter on E! , Project Runway of course, and I watch a lot of the reality shows because there's a lot of fashion in them and the clothes always have a unique style.
What are your fashion must-haves?
My skinny jeans, oversized sweater, accessories and my bag — my man bag (laughs). I love, love, love shoes. I don't usually think about what I'm going to wear. I just pick something. I don't believe in matching. I believe in coordination and the right concept.
Who are your favourite designers?
Alexander McQueen, Diane von Furstenberg, Marc Jacobs and Christian Siriano.
How do you plan on making your mark on the Jamaican fashion industry?
I think for you to make a mark in the industry, you have to come with something different because even though we are in Jamaica, people are still going to judge you internationally. So you can't do looks that have been seen before. As a designer, you have to do your research and come up with the next look, and at the same time it has to relate to a lot of people. People should feel like they feel you put your heart, blood and sweat into it when they see your designs.
In your estimation, do you find Jamaicans in the main to be fashion forward?
To be honest, right now I would say we are 50/50. Jamaica has reached a place where we are on point with fashion. Maybe it's because of cable, because you will find where some Jamaicans go overseas, they will fit right in and people will actually be inspired by their looks because they are trying to beat that look.
If you pick anyone to wear a Gregory Williams design, who would it be?
I can't pick just one. I'd would want to see Lady Saw first, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, D'Angel and Lady GaGa in my clothes. I also would want to dress Daphne Guinness — she was Alexander McQueen's muse.
You recently showed a collection at Caribbean Fashion Week and Style Week. What are your thoughts on Jamaican designers?
There is a lot of talent here, but I think what some of us are lacking is the confidence to step forward. I think you have to love yourself and have the confidence to step out. It's very tough, you are going to get critiques but you can't make that hold you down. For me, whenever someone critiques me, it doesn't bring me down, it builds me up. I take what they say and it makes me stronger. I think what would make me weak is when everyone is going to pretend like they love everything I do.
So what's next for you?
I want to be known all over the world. I am aiming for E! and Vogue. Once I get the chance to go there, I believe I can make it happen, because there is a lot more in my head that I haven't shown.
What is your philosophy?
I believe a person should live like there is no tomorrow. I wake up every day and I always remember to thank God. That's why when I get the opportunity to show a collection, I don't play with it. You have to think of it like it's your last, because it's what you will be remembered by.