Fashion design – my way
WHEN JERRIANNE ALLEYNE was about seven or eight years old and making clothes for her doll, she knew she wanted to be a fashion designer.
Years passed but her desire to create her own clothing did not wane. So resolute was she that she pursued studies in fashion designing at the Barbados Community College (BCC) in 2010.
“When I thought about my career choices it was the first thing I wanted to do,” she told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY. “I thought about interior [decorating] at one point but I wasn’t serious about it. This is my first love.”
Now, at 22 years old, the designer has set her sights on launching her Riviere Girl line of clothing by late August.
“Designing comes to me [easily], depending on the fabric I buy, I decide what I want to do with it after.
“I have been thinking about my business for a while but my current boss gave me the idea when she asked me if I would be willing to put stuff in her store at Dingolay.
“After I left BCC, I designed for people that I know, those who know that I can sew but I didn’t want to take the route of being a seamstress. I decided that I should start my own line.
“It was difficult getting started, but that’s what I’m working on now,” Alleyne said.
Alleyne said that of the courses she did at BCC, she liked the history of fashion the most and her favourite era is the playful, fun and colourful ’80s and ’90s but her line is not based off that period.
“I decided to go with Riviere Girl. That’s Italian for coastline, so most of my designs are perfect for the island,” she added.
Explaining that she does not mind working on alterations, the young designer said she did not want to be making business suits or school uniforms, but making the caftans or dresses she has done to date.
Alleyne likes working with natural fabrics like voile or cotton, colling material suited for the Caribbean climate, and turning them into stunning, flowing pieces.
“I try not to put anything out there that I wouldn’t wear myself. If I see something that I really like – like a braid – I may want to keep the focus on it so I would make the rest of the dress really simple to highlight that.
“My collection will not only be the caftans and dresses. There will be some pants suits as well, but they’re going to be very flowy. My favourite colour is teal, so there’ll be a lot of that as well.
“I’ve done outfits for family members and friends, but not under my line. I did one for a friend who was performing at a charity function and apparently it was a hit. I did that in three days and I got more orders!”
By the end of this year, Alleyne hopes to move into her designing business full-time and has selected boutiques to retail her line.
The plan is to eventually open a store where she could sell clothing other pieces that she likes, or that would complement her fashions.
“I will be working on a children’s line all the while, and I’m hoping to have this definitely before September – I don’t want it to be too late in the year.
“Making clothes for children isn’t any more difficult than for adults. I think it takes patience; they are a lot smaller, so you don’t need as much space to work and it’s a lot more fun.
“You can play with more colours, choose different textures . . . you don’t have to feel guilty about using too much pink,” she said.
Going out on her own – and doing it in the way she wants – is going to be difficult, she said.
“That’s why I’m taking baby steps. I also have my mother’s support.
“Time is my biggest challenge. There are difficulties with financing the business so I have to keep my full-time job. I don’t want to borrow – which is probably why I have taken so long – because I don’t want to start off in debt. I think it would be better for me to take my time and use my own money for now,” Alleyne said. (Green Bananas Media.)