Designer Rebecca Stirm wins Mission Catwalk challenge with Belize-inspired design
Kingston, JAMAICA - Drawing on the Hispanic and Mayan influences in her country, 18 year-old Belizean fashion designer Rebecca Stirm emerged the winner in a culture-inspired challenge in the second episode of Caribbean fashion designer reality series Mission Catwalk, filmed in Kingston Jamaica.
Stirm and 14 other designers were instructed by host and executive-producer Keneea Linton-George to “create an outfit that reflects the style and culture” of their individual countries joined by “the common thread of independence.” The designers, who were given pointers from Season One winner Shenna Carby, had to apply their creativity within a short time frame and on a US$20 budget.
“I wanted a lot of material, so I looked in the curtain section,” said Rebecca. “I was able to get a lot of this very, very light; airy fabric for a little bit of money since we were on a tight budget. I added embroidery to give it some detail and intricacy.”
“Beautiful, dramatic, tasteful, stylish-I can feel the culture,” said Linton-George about Rebecca’s dress which also impressed judges -Jamaica Observer Lifestyle Editor, Novia McDonald Whyte; menswear designer Carlton Brown and guest judge, Trinidadian actress Nadia Khan.
A Rebecca Stirm design on the runway
Rebecca (who calls her label Fancy Purple Paint) was the first of the show’s designers to win a challenge as no winner was declared in the previous episode where five contestants went home.
The next best design came from Barbadian Kerin Scott’s skirt and top combo which reflected the laid back beach culture of her island and the blue and yellow of the national flag. Jamaican Janel Jolly created an African-inspired chic casual dress while Trinidadian Ryan Chan delivered his version of a modern sari.
Jamaicans Crystal Powell, Keshon Hawthorne, Maria King-Beadle, Natalie Rochester as well as Barbadian/Trinidadian Janelle Forde and Ryan Berkeley of Guyana were given the opportunity to continue to next week’s show for what Hawthorne aptly described as a “second chance”.
In the bottom four were Trinidadian Shannon Kwong and Gregory Williams, Shellane McFarlane and Kimbally Smith of Jamaica. The final two came down to Shellane and Kimbally and the latter was cut for his poor interpretation which according to McDonald-Whyte failed to impress.
Rebecca and the remaining 13 contestants are vying for JA$3 million in prizes including the chance to show at London Fashion Week.
Rebecca Stirm (right) with model in one of her designs
Winning designer, Rebecca Stirm
Belizean making waves in Caribbean Fashion Design Competition
Belizean, Rebecca Stirm of Roaring Creek is hitting it big in a Caribbean fashion designer show. Stirm, who heard about the reality series through a friend, auditioned and was accepted as one of the competitors vying for three million Jamaican dollars or over thirty thousand U.S dollars in prizes including the opportunity to show at London Fashion Week. The series features participants from across the Caribbean including Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, Barbados and Jamaica. To date two episodes have aired. In the second challenge, where a winning design was selected, the participants had only twenty U.S dollars and limited time to create a winning piece. Stirm won that challenge with rave reviews. News Five Andrea Polanco reports:
Andrea Polanco, Reporting
Nineteen-year old Rebecca Stirm’s dream for fashion design started at home and has since mushroomed into a career:
Rebecca Stirm, Fashion Designer
“Well when I was probably about maybe four, I started sewing. My mom used to let me have needles and thread from really, really young and I would always be sewing things from socks and stuff for dolls and as it progressed, I started sewing my own clothing and teach myself how to sew and then I started to sew for other people and just recently over the last two and a half years it turned into a little business for me and a little bit more of a career.”
The talent and passion for the craft has since propelled her on a regional stage. She is one of the competitors in a Caribbean fashion designer reality series called Mission Catwalk. They have since filmed a several episodes. The first was no easy task, but she met the challenge:
“Oh my goodness, well at first when they took us to the Hope Gardens I was thinking that they would make us make something out of leaves; we’re all like freaking out. But when they walked out in those nightgowns, oh god, and then when they told us thirty minutes, oh god. That was stress and then like I didn’t get any trimmings or anything. I just had the scissors and the needle and just started cutting. It was rush, like as you started thirty minutes was done. It was so fast; everyone was worried about getting eliminated that day.”
In the second episode they were tasked to make a cultural piece that incorporate aspects of independence. It was the first challenge where a winner was declared. Stirm took the top spot with a mayan-mestizo inspired piece:
“We had to draw from our cultures and stuff so those were the two main cultures that I pulled from. I thought they would flow really well together in a really umph type dress on the way on the runway. So I kinda pull pieces from each culture to create the look that I wanted on the runway.”
“Were you surprised to be named the winner of that challenge?”
“Oh yeah because a lot of them are really good. A lot of them are on very similar levels. I thought that Janel Jolly was gonna win. I was very sure and I did not expect that at all and I was so excited. My face like all lit up and stepped on my models dress and almost tripped. It was so exciting.”
“What do you expect will be played out for the remainder of the show?”
“Ummm. You guys just have to see. You’ll have to watch the show.”
“Will it be even more fun or challenging?”
“Of course. I know things are going to get heated and people will get eliminated. Even close friends will get eliminated like it’s gonna get down to some really exciting, sad, tough and rough stuff.”
And in just a short time Stirm has left an indelible mark on the panel, so much so that she has been invited to Caribbean Fashion Week:
“The judges after the show encouraged me to do Caribbean Fashion Week to do my line and get more exposure after the show. That’s why I registered and all and I will be in Jamaica at the same time for the show so I don’t have to spend on an extra ticket and everything. And also, one other thing, I am looking for sponsorship right now for Caribbean Fashion Week so if you are interested in helping me to get to Caribbean Fashion Week, the registration fee is two thousand U.S and so it’s gonna be really expensive for me to take my collection there so I am in desperate need for any kind of support that I can get.”
Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.
Stirm is set to return to Kingston Jamaica next month to film the final episode of the show, where three finalists will compete for the opportunity to participate in London Fashion Week. If you want to watch the show you can log on to www.televisionjamaica.com. If you’d like to be a sponsor for Stirm’s debut in the Caribbean Fashion Week, you can send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org