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Starter Kits Distributed For Carnival Bahamas Costumes

By Sharell Caroll

FOLLOWING the recent Road Fever Companies Workshop, the Bahamas National Festival Commission (BNFC) compiled starter kits and distributed them to the registered companies to promote the use of indigenous materials for the Bahamas Carnival costumes.

The kit includes local sponge, seeds, sisal, straw and burlap, produced by local vendors, to showcase natural and diverse materials which can be used in the costume production.

The overall goal of distributing the starter kits is to inspire creations that are uniquely Bahamian and capture the spirit of Junkanoo.

The Bahamas Carnival is a collage of Bahamian culture, a festive occasion for Bahamians and visitors. The events are underpinned by indigenous Bahamian cultural expressions, including music, art and Junkanoo.

BNFC Chairman Paul Major emphasised the importance of direct economic opportunities for Bahamians as a result of the Carnival. He said one of the main goals behind costuming is to inspire designers to become creative with local materials that will put a unique spin on creations on the international stage and create financial opportunities for local entrepreneurs.

According to Roscoe Dames, BNFC CEO: “Our team is grateful to see such an overwhelming support from entrepreneurs who have captured the vision behind Bahamas Carnival and plan to display their creative talents and abilities.”

Avis Munroe, owner and fashion designer of Spilligate Group, said that she and her sister have partnered to create a Bahamas Carnival company.

“We are working together on putting different products on various materials to create sample costumes with the shells, straw etc. Basically, we are in the stage of experimentation to determine what looks good together and what works best to produce professional costumes that are authentic with an intentional appeal,” Ms Munroe said.

In response to receiving her starter kit, she added, “At least we now have samples of local Bahamian products on hand as it gives us a better idea of how we can dye and colour the various straw plaits and materials.

The entrepreneurs were excited to explore what unique concepts could be crafted while using native materials.

Dr Ann Higgins, who oversees research and special projects for the BNFC, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for Bahamians to display their creative talents on a large scale whilst showcasing the natural resources and materials that the Bahamas has to offer.”

According to Nelson Armaly of Paragon Nights: “I have two designers who I’ll be working with in addition to myself and I am excited to get the projects started.”

Furthermore, Perry Nicholls, a representative of Empire of Love said: “We are looking forward to using these materials provided by BNFC, as we are familiar with some of them already. It will be interesting to see what we can come up with, and hopefully carry over what we learnt in final costume design and production.”

With the mandate to stimulate sustainable economic opportunities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the creative sector, Team BNFC continues to partner with these companies to ensure their economic and creative success leading up to Bahamas Carnival, which is scheduled for May 7-9, 2015.

For further information, contact BNFC at (242) 356-2100 or email info@bahamasfestivalcommission.com.

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