Posted on

Fashionable guy


Natanga Smith Hurdle

Fashionable guy

Social Share

Dave Cumberbatch always had an eye for fashion. He knew what looked good on others and what did not. He also knew what looked good on him, and being in the public eye as a singer he made sure he was well turned out at all times. Dave’s musical talent placed him first in the 2006 Richard Stoute Over-21 competition, and even back then many who knew him spoke of what a snazzy dresser he was.Fast forward four years, and Dave Cumberbatch, 35, is once again turning heads – as a fashion designer. He is still bemused at the turn of events that have propelled him into a world of fashion that has names ranging from the Caribbean’s Pauline Bellamy and Meiling to international bigwigs Robert Cavalli and Michael Kors.“My wife Gayna is always looking for things to keep her brain active. She saw this fashion course and urged me to attend it with her.”At the end of the three-month course, Dave was pleasantly surprised that he had thoroughly enjoyed it, so he found another design course to do. “It is funny, but the women in my family always sewed. My grandmum and mum made all the clothes for us children.”Dave found himself thinking constantly of designs and started putting pen to paper to make patterns, and then putting scissors to cloth. He wasn’t entirely confident in himself, but he did it for fun, making a few items for his family and friends and even for his wife to wear to church. “People kept asking her what boutique or what brand she was wearing,” he said, laughing.With Gayna beside him every step of the way, Dave started to take his work more seriously. “Gayna would always say you can do this. When I have a design in my head and describe it to her, she helps me bring it to fruition.” Digicel, where Dave works as a corporate care executive, was the runway for his first set of pieces when in 2008 he put some staff members into his designs for their annual talent show. The employees were so impressed that the following year they pleaded with him to bring more designs.Dave was so impressed with his own pieces that he looked to try something bigger: “I went to Digicel’s marketing executive Marquita Sugrim and asked for some guidance. I told her I wanted to launch my line at BMEX and she supported that. So with Gayna pushing me I did nine pieces.”Dave recalls being overwhelmed by the support from his bosses, who also sponsored him for BMEX.His nervousness as he approached his first official showing at BMEX is still fresh in his mind. What made the situation more nerve-wracking was that on the first night the organisers were so impressed with his details and designs that he was asked to close the show. Dave remembers that as a first-timer and a self-taught designer, he was on cloud nine as a result of being given that opportunity. And that was with one sewing machine and just a two-person team: Dave and Gayna. He speaks excitedly about his designs – they are an inspiration, he says, disclosing that the name of the company, Jireh, is related to this: “God is my provider, so my designs are biblically inspired by God.” He makes no secret of his strong Christian convictions.Dave does not look at fashion magazines nor even fashion shows as he does not want to be a copycat; instead he looks at the person and visualises what would look good on them. He admits a love for drama, flair and elegance and picks gowns as his favourite creation, stating he “loves, loves, loves to do them”.“Gayna and I add to each creation. We bring class and elegance. When you walk into a room, people should be looking at what you are wearing.” A self-confessed perfectionist, Dave says creating a piece is a lot of hard work, adding that if the garment is not “correct it will not go out”.  He points out that it often takes him half a day to sew a garment.He is looking forward to seeing his creations on Barbadian international models Tennille Stoute, Victoria Monerville and Sara Collins and singers Kareen Clarke and Paula Hinds. In the meantime, Jireh is looking to add plus-size fashions to its line as “plus-size can look just as nice as everyone else”.Dave is ready to launch another collection and to improve his skills. To that end, he has applied to do the certificate programme at the Barbados Community College.He identifies passion and belief in yourself as the two most important factors in getting into fashion.“Know what you want and go for it. Do not stop till you get the quality you want.”

LAST NEWS