Abenah Gonzales makes her mark on fashion
Observer North & East
Young, gifted and confident are just a few of the words which best describe local fashion designer Abenah Adelaide Gonzales who, at age 21, has already established her own business and is making big plans for the future.
Operator of 'Abenah Adelaide', this young designer is making a name for herself with a brand of handcrafted jewellery, accessories and clothing which is currently sold in some Jamaican boutiques.
Unlike most students fresh out of college, Gonzales did not wait to be called to a job. Instead, after completing studies in fashion design at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in July of this year, she started operating "Abenah Adelaide" from her home in Cardiff Hall, St Ann.
"I always love fashion. I was born in an artistic home," Gonzales told the Jamaica Observer North East as she spoke passionately about her love and talent.
Born to parents Christopher Gonzales, artist, and Lurleen "Champayne" Clarke-Gonzales, her talents were nurtured from an early age.
According to Gonzales' mother, she recognised the talents in her children from an early age and helped to develop it.
"I think this is something parents need to do," her mother said.
As a child, Gonzales was involved in the performing as well as the visual arts. The many classes and competitions she participated in proved to be a solid foundation as today she is not only a fashion designer, but has a long list of artistic involvement attached to her name.
Many will know her from the numerous modelling competitions she participated in as well as her stint on the popular local reality series Mission Catwalk, but the former St Hilda's High School student is also a make-up artiste and a talented artist.
In 2004, at only 13 years old, Gonzales placed third in the National AIDS Poster Competition. A year later she entered Pulse Caribbean Model search and was placed in the top five petite finalists. She signed to the agency and modelled part time while she continued to pursue her education.
Gonzales, youthful exuberance and talent have taken her into many roles, not expected during her teenage years, among them a stint as entertainment co-ordinator in the tourism sector.
She later joined Hah-R-Mony in Montego Bay where she played lead roles in Broadway-inspired acts and lip sync while performing choreographed pieces.
"She has always been a multitalented girl," explained her mother.
Lurleen expressed pride at her daughter's achievements, especially that of starting her own business.
"I feel great. Nowadays you have to encourage young entrepreneurs," she said.
Although having a new business can be a challenge, Gonzales said she loves what she does and sees her business as expressing herself.
"Working for someone else would not give me the freedom to express myself in my designs as I want to," she said.
It is her dream to reach the international scene with her designs, while aspiring to be a pop music singer.