Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Ali Lue Shines at Island Couture
It was approximately four years ago when I met a bubbly spirit by the name of Ali Lue. She was then trying to get her foot through the door with a piece she had designed for Saint International's Avant-Garde competition; new and up-and-coming designers created a high-fashion piece based on a theme, in hopes of winning a relatively large sum of cash. It is the sort of thing every designer dreams of winning.
History would have it that Ali didn't win, even though, in my estimation, hers was the best piece there. What they say about good things emerging from bad happenings is true- Ali and I have been friends ever since.
Today, she is still bubbly, and humble as ever, always publicly gracious for the least amount of help she receives; a breath of fresh air in these times of divas. It's this amicable spirit that draws one to her, but even without it, Ali would still stand-out in a sea of imitators simply because of her talent which was on full display at the monthly staging of Jamaica Fashion Cluster's Island Couture. The show is staged on the last Saturday evening of each month, in hopes of displaying the huge talents we have here in fashion design, fashion styling and modeling. It's shows like these Ali is glad for as she is able to display her work to possible buyers, as well as ably market her line to potential local and international clients.
In trying to reach these clients, Ali is constantly trying to challenge herself and innovate her line. It may seem an odd choice for a couturier to do something as seemingly blasé as tees, however, for Ali, it was the next logical step. You might say couture can't be worn every-day, especially here in our type of climate, right? Well, yes and no. With Ali's "couture t-shirts", one probably can wear couture every day. In keeping the sensibilities of her more artistic, high-concept dresses and gowns, Ali designs her t-shirts with 3-D patterns, prints and styles. "Fashion for me is like having different personalities", she says. "It's the way to express yourself". And express herself she did at last Saturday's show. Styled by fellow friend, Michael Atkinson, the collection was colourful, bright and full of funk. The models were all decked out in fishnet stockings, colourful totes, and accessories courtesy of Bianca Bartley's Peace Is of Bianca line.
She credits God as the source of all inspiration for her designs, but also acknowledges the rhythm of music as an artistic source for her work. No surprise there, as ever since Michael Jackson passed away, Ali's Facebook status seem to be devoted to expressing her shock and sadness at his unfortunate end.
Not one to lament on the negative, Ali truly has faith in, and is excited by the fashion climate here in Jamaica. "Designers here are so talented, we can compete in an international market", she openly admits, something often not seen by the very people who live here and call themselves fashionistas.
So what are the future plans for the fashion and somtime-interior designer? To have only the fashionable wear her designs, of course; that is exactly the type of person she caters to, after all- people who are not afraid to lead stylishly, or be the centre of attention.
Having started designing at 7 years, Ali decided at the age of 12, that she wanted to be a fashion designer. After attending the International Fine Arts College in Florida, she returned here and became the designer for Cedella Marley’s Tuff Gong Clothing Line (now Catch A Fire Clothing). In 2006, she decided to start her own line- an "elegant ,whimsical, funky and avant-garde mixture of moods, colour and fabric".
If Ali Lue has her way, her line will be sold in only the most exclusive boutiques here and internationally, and of course, worn by the most gorgeous celebrities. With talent like hers, those dreams aren't far-fetched, they are an expectation.
Ali Lue can be reached by
Facebook: Ali Lue Couture
and by Phone: 876-361-2421