QUEEN of the garb, Norma Williams has a reputation for creating attention-worthy fashion moments with some of Jamaica's favourite stars. With her design house BrandED she continues to turn heads with her fabulous creations at Jamaica's premier events.
As a self-taught fashion designer Williams recalls her early days of dressing herself with much bigger bows and longer socks as the beginning of her passion for fashion. Being under the indirect tutelage of close friend Andrea Jacobs helped her to hone her craft. Those early design days were highlighted by moments when they would sit and review Williams' sketches while chatting about Jacobs' days apprenticing with a very young Alexander McQueen. "Sitting at Andrea's feet, in her masterclass, I learned so much about fashion. She specialised in corsets and boned garments and that influenced me greatly. I fell in love with ballroom skirts, trains, and traditional garments that accentuate the feminine form," shared Williams.
Having grown her business and built a reputation for dramatic and glamorous looks, Williams often draws her inspiration from her emotions, which thankfully work in her favour as she notes that she "usually feels regal". Trendsetting also drives her creative process as creating grand, over-the-top designs is in the BrandED DNA.
One of Williams' most recent creations was a vibrant green jumpsuit for Heineken's Brand Manager Amoye Phillpotts-Brown, designed specifically for this year's staging of the Jamaica Observer's Table Talk Food Awards. "From the moment I was contacted to dress Amoye for this event the excitement was fever-pitched. I knew the brand's colour so going fabric shopping was easy. As is typical, I created her BrandEd style notes, giving her design options to choose from. We agreed on pants, and I wanted the drama of a full circle over-skirt. I commissioned Nadine Edmonds of Pesché Couture to bring my vision to life. To give the skirt the weight it needed, I had it doubled. I decided to modernise the piece with the architectural detail of the reinforced petals on a boned top. During discussions with Amoye, who was super excited about the look, we decided to do a strapless top with an inner corset to support the petals and define her waist even more," Williams explained.
The BrandEd designer continues to create waves in corporate styling because she truly understands and appreciates the important role that styling plays in brand recognition.
"BrandEd understands the requirements of brand representation, style and service. I have worked with many powerful brands, and working with Amoye and Heineken certainly helped to cement my reputation as a go-to stylist — especially for this niche area. All the buzz around the look makes me so satisfied that I have done my job well and my client is pleased," she beamed.
Williams has the benefit of not only working in fashion but also in aviation, and both industries allow her to satisfy her love for knowledge sharing and human development.
"I plan to take BrandEd to the wide dictates of the BrandEd philosophy. The imparting of knowledge, motivating and inspiring through thoughts, ideas, expressions and experiences is a calling on my life and surely satisfies the academic side of me. As a certified coach, certified human performance expert, certified crew resource management instructor and customer experience specialist with my years of experience, I believe that I have the ability to guide persons to the most amazing expression of themselves, and BrandEd is the vehicle to do it."