NASSAU, The Bahamas – The fashion world is buzzing about “Islands of the World Fashion Week” (IWFW) to take place in Nassau, The Bahamas, November 5-8, 2008, set to showcase well-known and new designers from islands around the world and to promote cultural diversity and creativity.
The producer of IWFW is Mode Iles, Ltd., an affiliate of The Montaque Group, a diversified financial services operation with interest in film finance and production. Inaugural IWFW venues will include the British Colonial Hilton in Nassau and the Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island, The Bahamas.
“This event was not conceived to be just another fashion week,” explained Owen Bethel, President and Managing Director of The Montaque Group as well as Founder of IWFW. “While certainly providing a showcase for eligible designers originating from developing islands similar to the typical fashion week, the mere fact that this event specifically focuses on designers from islands in itself makes it a unique event.
Mr. Owen Bethel – President of The Montaque Group and Creator of Islands of the World Fashion Week
Photo By Eric Franz
Islands conjure up images of a unique lifestyle, both exotic and colorful. Further, this event is not simply a commercial venture, as it concurrently aims to draw attention to several global issues which also significantly affect island states.”
A potential boon for The Bahamas, their Ministry of Tourism is anticipated to play a pivotal role in both the promotion and execution of the Islands of the World Fashion Week. They will also provide support for the visiting dignitaries, VIP’s, and media stated Bethel. Celebrities will be in the know soon, as invitations are on the way to major stars including Oprah Winfrey, P Diddy, Jennifer Lopez, Stacey London, Tyra Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Rihanna, Beyonce Knowles, Tim Gunn, and others, and of course, to the designers!
On board as IWFW executive producer is Tomas Frenes, a Miami resident who served as Deputy Director for the Americas of the vast Versace fashion empire up to the time of the famed designer’s tragic death. Frenes is also the Executive Vice President of Mode Iles, Ltd.
“Presenting designers are being encouraged to also present garments or accessories which display sensitivity to any one or more of many global social issues,” explained Bethel about the heart of IWFW. “The recognition and tolerance of cultural diversity, in an effort to bring about a culture of peace, are also significant themes of the event as a reflection of the mission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which is supporting the event.”
“With the presence of fashion editors, and the press representatives and photographers,” continued Bethel, “the designers will get a critical assessment of their work and the potential for sales.
While this is not a competition there will be the selection of notable presenting designers as the recipients of the recognition awards in Sustainable or Eco-Fashion, Cultural & Fashion, the NextGen Designer Award, and the Seals of Excellence to be presented to five outstanding designers.
The NextGen Designer Award is targeted to a novice designer who shows promise in the international marketplace. A Humanitarian Designer Award will also be presented to an internationally-renowned designer who has shown him or herself to be a philanthropist in one or more of the areas of concern being highlighted by the event.”
Participants are expected from major regions of the Pacific, Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean, and the Atlantic/Caribbean. “We have already received positive indications of participation from designers in Fiji, Grenada, Bermuda, Indonesia, Jamaica, Madagascar, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and The Bahamas,” explained Bethel. Sponsorship opportunities exist for businesses such as travel/tourism organizations, hotel chains, telecommunications and internet providers, transportation entities, or beauty, cosmetic and skin-care, perfumes and jewelry manufacturers.