Although all things Brazilian have been lobbed across many chic tongues in the recent years and Belgium is definitely stirring, the country that’s setting style and all sorts of cultural trends is Jamaica. Rapster Sean Paul is topping the charts with heavy patois lyrics in “Gimme the Light,” while artists from Missy Elliot to No Doubt to Janet Jackson are underlining their tracks with intoxicating Jamaican dancehall beats. With any cultural rise come the styles of that region, and designers are descending on Kingston for inspiration to match the gyrating energy of dancehall music. New York-based Mara Hoffman’s Circle line touched down on cool island vibrations for her sexy Jennifer Lopez-obsessed bikinis and micro dresses. Urban wear Lady Enyce‘s spring 2003 presentation showed Chuck Amos-created dreadlocks (see JC Report, Issue 4), pum-pum shorts, and Kingston color wave all wrapped up in raw Jamaican energy. Slashed denims hugging tight derrieres peppered Cedella Marley’s (Bob’s daughter) Catch a Fire label at Caribbean Fashion Week last November. The label counts Eryka Badu, Gwen Stefani and Angela Bassett as loyal fans. Island netted shirts in vibrant yellows, reds and greens are popping up in numerous magazine editorials and splashing across videos. If there’s any doubt to the mainstream penetration of this movement, Puma is running a massive commercial campaign across Europe, showing Jamaican-inspired trainers miraculously appearing on the feet of citizens all over the island.
- Jason Campbell
Photo: Markus Wilhelm, Lady Enyce Spring 2003