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MCW in retrospect

Natanga Smith Hurdle

MCW in retrospect

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Kesia Estwick, Barbadian fashion designer who had a stint on Mission Catwalk (MCW) in Jamaica, talks to EASY magazine about life after the show and her new collection which was inspired by a piece she made for a MCW challenge. She was voted off in episode nine.
EASY: You won the Nokia N9 challenge in episode seven and came in the top three twice. Tell us how you felt when you won and what was your concept, seeing that the materials were the same for the designers and you were in a group and you don’t like groups.
K.E.: It was an amazing feeling; I thought to myself  ‘it’s about time’ (she laughs loudly). Having the same materials as the others was kind of intimidating and it was these extremely bright colours which is a little outside  of my comfort zone, but I knew once I stayed true to my design aesthetic I would produce a unique garment.
EASY: You were voted off for one dress in the two dress challenge in episode nine. Did you think the judges’ criticisms were fair in that challenge?
K.E.: To some extent yes, they mentioned the fit and the sewing and I totally agreed with what they said in that area. I decided to take a risk using chiffon as I had never previously worked with that material and I guess it didn’t pay off. On the other hand I absolutely loved my designs and I’m sure others did too, it all comes down to a matter of opinion.
EASY: Did you think the competition was fair throughout?
K.E.: My only problem with the judging system was the fact that the previous challenges were never taken into consideration. The first and only time I was in the bottom I was eliminated but I’m sure they had their reasons.
EASY: The season was taped so you knew while watching that you didn’t make it to the final? How did you feel watching the episodes and keeping that secret?
K.E.: Watching was fun! It brought back lots of memories but keeping it secret was . . . not hard but awkward when people would ask ‘so what would you do if you won?’ (she laughs).
EASY: How was it going back and seeing all the designers at Caribbean Fashion Week (CFW)?
K.E.: I was counting down the days till I was back; it was great to be back among friends, especially my room-mates, we became sort of like a little family. Watching the others at CFW was pretty cool, we [were] all kinda rooting for them every time one would show.
EASY: What was being on the show like for you? Stressful, we know, but how would you describe it in a nutshell. And how was it returning to your normal life?
K.E.: Yes, very stressful but overall extremely fun. In-between the longs hours and no sleep, being around all of those creative people – the energy – was always inspiring and we all got along pretty well so we had some unforgettable moments throughout the competition. Coming back to Barbados was exciting because I missed my family and friends, who held a surprise return party [for me], but then it got really boring because I got so accustomed to the get up and go kind of day. It took a while to get back into the easy (by comparison) day I’m used to.
EASY: In retrospect, would you do it again if you had the opportunity?
K.E.: If I could rewind time and have the whole experience again I definitely would but would I actually do a new season of MCW? Probably not, I like to keep moving forward. Onto the next new opportunity.
EASY: Pick your top three pieces from the nine episodes you did.
K.E.: My top three would have to be my first catwalk piece, the Barbadian inspired one because I love supporting my lovely little island; the Nokia dress of course and my favourite being the flapper dress, that dress actually inspired me to update my previous collection.
EASY: Pick your least favourite three pieces from the nine episodes you did.
K.E.: Wow, hmm . . . I don’t have three least favourite pieces; the only one I didn’t like was the Lady Saw outfit for sure.
EASY: How was shopping for fabric in Pablo’s with a US$25 budget?
K.E.: It was slighty annoying, seeing fabrics that you’d love to work with but you couldn’t because it was too expensive, but at the same [time] living and working here in Barbados I’m accustomed to having to work with a limited selection so it wasn’t too bad.
EASY: Were you nervous every week when it came to eliminations?
K.E.: Yes. Every single time because you never know what the judges are going to say, you might love your piece and they might hate it. It was always nerve-racking.
EASY: Since you had such little time to do so much, what was your game plan like for some of the challenges?
K.E.: I never really had a game plan to be honest, I just took the challenges as they came and tried to do my best.
EASY: Your model turned up late for the first challenge and didn’t turn up for the second one. For which other Mission did you have challenges and explain how you overcame them?
K.E.: Those were the only major challenges I had to face; there were of course other smaller bumps I had to get over. For the newspaper challenge, I ran out of black spray paint and was about to have a panic attack but Janel Jolly was in the same predicament; she had a can of black and I had a can of what she needed so we made a happy exchange in the end.
EASY: Did you come down to the wire with any of your challenges?
K.E.: Almost every one! I’d still be at my machine or hand sewing up until the time the personal assistants [were] shouting ‘designers out of the sewing room please’ (she laughs).
EASY: I loved the flapper dress challenge and the hat challenge. The jumpsuit was fab . . . . Which theme challenge did you like the best and why?
K.E.: Honestly, I was still waiting for that amazing mission up until I was eliminated. The challenges were ok but none of them really got me excited, maybe because of my style. I would have to say I enjoyed the newspaper challenge the most that was a lot of fun.
EASY: Which guest judge did you like and why?
K.E.: Keneea was my favourite, she was so helpful throughout the competition and [had] such a good spirit . . . There was hardly ever a time where she’d walk into the room and we didn’t end up laughing at something she said or did.
EASY: What is next for you?
K.E.: Mission Catwalk was just another stepping stone in my career; I intend to keep climbing and taking new opportunities. The opportunity to showcase at Islands Of The World Fashion Week was presented through the Adopt-A-Designer programme organized by Rodney Powers. I was one of three designers selected to be a part of this amazing programme which promises to provide even more great windows of opportunity. KISS on the other hand is my baby, I always wanted to do a street wear collection and what better time to launch it than summer 2012. KISS is more a reflection of my personal style and I have loads of fun creating the looks. There is actually going to be an update soon so keep checking at