FASHION design students at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts can now study in a more relaxed, creative environment thanks to a partnership between gaming company Supreme Ventures (SVL) and the Culture, Health, Arts, Sport and Education (CHASE) Fund.
A total of $3.1 million — $1.8 million from CHASE and the remainder from SVL — covered the infrastructure costs of the revamped building and flooring of the Fashion Department as well as the procurement of sewing machines, cutting tables and mannequins — all of which the College's budding fashion designers of tomorrow are expected to utilise in their tutelage.
Speaking at a dedication ceremony yesterday, Chief Executive Officer of the CHASE Fund Billy Heaven remarked that the reality of the finished structure represented "a fine example of the effectiveness of good partnership."
The CEO said the Fashion Department was a solid example of creativity, innovation and promotion.
The project, he said, was a worthwhile venture and expressed certainty that it would generate interest beyond Jamaica's shores, particularly within the wider Caribbean, given the recent introduction of a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Fashion Design at the college.
Meantime, Industry and Commerce Minister Karl Samuda, while lauding the newly outfitted department space, said there was need to develop a more acute appreciation of consistency standards in the local fashion sector.
"Branding is the key to the fashion industry," the minister stressed.
"This is just the beginning, we must ensure that quality is the stamp and trademark on which we are judged," he added.
In his reply, Principal Burchell Dunhaney expressed gratitude to both SVL and CHASE as well as Keneea Linton-George, founder of the Designers Guild of Jamaica.
The physical realisation of the Fashion Department at Edna Manley began with her intervention. Linton-George, who is host and producer of the upcoming fashion designing reality TV show, Mission Catwalk, approached the college to be involved in the show's production, with the school acting as an integral backdrop where the contestants complete their design challenges.