Guyanese Designer takes London by Storm

By Juliet Alexander

Just weeks before the London Olympics, Guyana struck gold with a dazzling display of fashion talent, watched by a sell out crowd.

Leading Guyanese designer Donna Ramsammy James took London by storm and won many new admirers in the capital of chic.

The occassion was Donna's first UK show, perfectly slotted between the Queen's Jubilee and the London Olympics, ready to take advantage of a
city in party mood.

The venue couldn't have been more perfect, the prestigeous Drift Bar, in a landmark building in the centre of the financial district, boasting the world's tallest bar.

The sell out crowd sipped cocktails and enjoyed finger food as they eagerly awaited the start of Afrika Milele (Africa Forever), the designer’s first UK collection.

The show did not disappoint.  There were gasps of appreciation and outbreaks of applause as the models laced their way through the crowds, strutting and swaying to  Caribbean and African beats.

The 16 male and female models came in every colour, age and size and they showed  all 172 dazzling designs to their best. Donna's outfits have been described as 'wearable art' and are designed to express “the softness of Asia, the depth of Africa and the colour of the Caribbean”.

And for a few short hours this straight-laced part of the banking world was turned into a dreamy landscape with models like so many colourful birds of paradise wafting between the tables to the delight of the appreciative audience.

“Afrika Milele; Caribbean Footprints”  was specifically adapted for the UK version of the current SHAPE collection – a collection which typifies the elegance of Donna's  exclusive line of elegant ladies’ and men’s wear. It was a first for London, previous shows have included tours to Anguila, New York, Jamaica, Barbados and Florida.

But the special customised UK designs exactly captured the mood and the London Look , fashion which makes the wearer feel like summertime
- but fortunately for the British isn't dependent on sunshine.

Afterwards the audience queued to put in their orders for the bespoke outfits.

Donna Ramsammy James said, "After a great reception at shows in North America, South America, and the Caribbean I was looking forward to introducing a UK audience to unique, vibrant, affordable designer Caribbean fashion. Even when the sun sets on the UK's most exciting summer, London will be able to keep a piece of the Caribbean with them in their wardrobes.”

Juliet Alexander is a former television presenter and producer who is now a media trainer and senior lecturer in journalism at a London University. She has over 25 years of media experience, having worked as a journalist for The Sunday Times ‘Insight’ team and The Guardian newspaper. She has worked as a Television reporter/presenter on a number of programmes including John Craven’s Newsround, Ebony, Songs of Praise and BBC World Service News. On radio she has presented and produced programmes such as Woman’s Hour, Law in Action and Black Britain.