NY’s finest help Bermuda designers down the runway

  • Patrice Phillips models a dress in the Rene Hills Original Collection. Miss Hill’s dresses have attitude. Photo by Sinclair Williams.

    Patrice Phillips models a dress in the Rene Hills Original Collection. Miss Hill’s dresses have attitude. Photo by Sinclair Williams.

  • A piece in emerging Designer Juliana Gibbons’ fall collection. Miss Gibbons was mentored by Rajni Jacques Fashion Editor at Glamour Magazine.

    A piece in emerging Designer Juliana Gibbons’ fall collection. Miss Gibbons was mentored by Rajni Jacques Fashion Editor at Glamour Magazine.

  • The back of a Juliana Gibbons evening dress.

    The back of a Juliana Gibbons evening dress.

  • Designs by Juliana Gibbons have a dark feeling to them. One of her pieces is seen here in the studio.

    Designs by Juliana Gibbons have a dark feeling to them. One of her pieces is seen here in the studio.

  • Even the back of Juliana Gibbons designs are beautiful.

    Even the back of Juliana Gibbons designs are beautiful.

  • Patrice Phillips models a dress designed by Rene Hill. Photo by Sinclair Williams.

    Patrice Phillips models a dress designed by Rene Hill. Photo by Sinclair Williams.

  • Juliana Gibbons fall collection. Miss Gibbons, 21, is one of the designers in the Emerging Designer Showcase tonight.

    Juliana Gibbons fall collection. Miss Gibbons, 21, is one of the designers in the Emerging Designer Showcase tonight.


It’s not every day that a budding fashion designer in Bermuda has the chance to get first hand advice from an industry professional in New York.

This year five local designers had the amazing opportunity to be mentored by top fashion magazine editors in New York City.

Tonight these designers, accompanied by their mentors, will show what they have learned in the Emerging Designer Showcase at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess, part of City Fashion Week organised by the Corporation of Hamilton.

Designer Rene Hill of Rene Hills Originals was paired with William Kahn, Accessories Editor at Town and Country Magazine. She said the advice she received was invaluable.

“It has been a huge learning curve for me,” Miss Hill said. “We had to do our own ads, mood boards, sketches, pattern cutting and many other aspects involved in putting a show together. I am now taking a drawing class. I have been learning about the continuity of colours. There are some many things involved that I never thought of. I had been doing some male style kilts for men. Will said unless those are hot sellers I would suggest you continue with the feminine line. He said the lines I had put together were strong on the feminine.”

She started out her fashion career making designer scarves, but for this particular show they and all things crochet have been left at home.

“My work in this show is sexy and elegant,” she said. “It is mainly skirts, dresses and evening wear.”

Juliana Gibbons, 21, a student at the Parsons School of Design was partnered with Rajni Jacques Fashion News Editor at Glamour Magazine.

“It has been really great,” Miss Gibbons said. “I have been doing a lot of my own thing in school. We are encouraged a lot to find our own voices as designers. It is easy to get caught in one direction. Having a mentor helps to make sure that your designs from concept to execution are as strong as they can be.”

Ms Jacques encouraged her to think more about merchandising and who her customer might be.

“I am designing for a woman who appreciates the functionality of clothing, but regularly makes choices you wouldn’t expect for casual wear. My evening wear pieces are much darker than what you would expect for Bermuda. It is a fall collection so it is even more dark.”

Bermudian Shiona Turini, Fashion Market Director at CR Fashionbook in New York helped the Corporation of Hamilton to arrange the mentorships.

She said when she was growing up in Bermuda she felt quite lost as there were no opportunities such as scholarships or networking opportunities for young people interested in the fashion industry.

“That is why we wanted to invite a designer to Bermuda,” she said. “We are so quick to jump on a plane and go overseas when these things are actually right here in Bermuda and easily accessible to us. Rebecca Minkoff is one brand that is carried in Bermuda. She is young. She grew her business. She has a relatable story. She came from a small area and had a dream and went after it. We thought she would be a great inspirational story, and she also offers a great product.”

Ms Minkoff spoke at a special cocktail party on Tuesday at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess.

“My favourite event of the week is the Emerging Designer Showcase,” said Ms Turini. “Something we are all committed to is helping to build up the talent that is in Bermuda. The fun part of the Emerging Designer Showcase is that we have paired them with international designers, some of them are very senior. They are at the top of their game. These are accessories directors from major magazines such as: Allure, Glamour, Town and Country, and Harper’s Bazaar. Even people in America don’t have access to editors like this.

“Over a period of four months they worked with their mentor to develop the collection will be on the stage tonight. We are so excited about it. It was really nice to see the process from when they first applied and we went through this person’s career path. Is this going to help. They coach them through a local collection. They were very receptive to the expert opinions. They did us proud. They will present their work today with their mentor.”

Other emerging designers in the show will be Alshante Foggo, Celine Fray and Alexandra Outerbridge.

The Emerging Showcase is tonight (Thursday) at 6.30pm at Fairmont Hamilton Princess. Tickets are $30. The Evolution Fashion Show is on Saturday at 7.30pm in the City Hall Grounds. Tickets are $50 VIP. The Evolution After Party is on Saturday evening at 11pm at Pier 6, Front Street. Tickets are $20. Tickets are available at www.premierticketsglobal.com.

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Published Jul 4, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated Jul 3, 2013 at 4:30 pm)

NY’s finest help Bermuda designers down the runway

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