We are excited to feature fellow British Jamaican designer Romero Bryan. From a young age London-born Romero Bryan aspired to become a world-renowned fashion designer and he began to hone his skills for design and creation at just thirteen. Mr. Bryan has fashion in his genes with both his grandfather and uncle being tailors, whilst his grandmother was a seamstress. Mr. Bryan graduated from the London College of Fashion in late 2005 and his career took off soon after. Mr. Bryan’s designs first caught the media’s attention in 2001, when UK singer Samantha Mumba attended the Brit Awards in a Romero Bryan dress with a plunging neckline.
ROMERO BRYAN has been worn by ‘A-List’ celebrities across the globe including Alek Wek, Cameron Diaz, Destiny’s Child, Elizabeth Jagger, Mariah Carey and Usher, to name but a few. Romero Bryan’s garments have also been purchased by Kate Moss, Katy Perry & many more. Over the years, Mr. Bryan’s clientele has broadened and the “boy wonder” (quoted by Vogue.com) has matured into a wonderful young man.
With a hotlist of celebs who have worn his clothing or who have made accolades to his still relatively young designer, shows just how much of an aspirational brand he has created. Victoria Secrets SUPER MODEL Oluchi Onweagba was also pictured wearing a ROMERO BRYAN AW2012 gown for MANIA Magazine in May 2012 adding to his amazing list.
OLUCHI wears ROMERO BRYAN AW12
Recent catwalk experience include ROMERO BRYAN AW’12 showing at Couture Fashion Week,; New York held at the Waldorf Astoria in February 2012 before going on to Lagos (Nigeria) for ARISE Magazine Fashion Week where SuperModel Alek Wek chose to wear ROMERO BRYAN Swarovski Crystal & Precious Stones Gown (worth £210,000) Now thats one to shout out about!. Alek also graces the front cover of the July edition of the LIAT Airplane In-Flight Magazine. Other models seen to wear his clothes this year includes Sara Nuru the latest winner of GERMANYS NEXT TOP MODEL and also British Olympian (Canoeist) Jess Walker wears ROMERO BRYAN for PR pictures in July this year which was seen in many publications as well as on OFFICIAL SPORTS management site
My absolutely favourite piece from his most recent collections must be the Heroa dress. Takes me back to my bridal/wedding dress design days. This was worn by supermodel ALEK WEK
who recently tweeted that she “was honoured”
to wear the ROMERO BRYAN SS’12 ‘HEROA’ beaded gown adorned with precious Swarovski crystals at ARISE Magazine Fashion Awards in Lagos.
Couturier BRUCE OLDFIELD and his team suggested the ROMERO BRYAN SS’12 ‘HEROA’ gown “would look amazing in red”
when asked for their opinion, and they also tweeted “We’ve checked out your website too, you’ve done some really interesting stuff.”
Since showing at ARISE Magazine Fashion Week (March 2012), Romero has been invited to attend and show, as a ‘guest designer’, the ROMERO BRYAN AW ‘12 collection and a montage of his favourite garments from previous collections at several fashion events in the Caribbean this year;
All three of these events have similar goals and objectives – to provide business and export opportunities for local designers, to promote the island as a destination offering a high quality shopping experience, to encourage, educate and develop the local fashion industry, to attract international fashion media, buyers and investors to the island, and to encourage international designers to open stores on the island. There appears to be strong force behind wanting to further expose and promote Caribbean fashion to a regional and international audience.
Romero recently came back to the UK from Berlin, GERMANY after working on an AFRICAN FASHION FILM p
roject in conjunction with www.black-lifestylemag.com
& Germany’s Next Top Model by Heidi Klum 2012.
WHich in his words was ‘AMAZING ‘ .
(See pictures of behind the scenes for the recorded trailer/television advert & shoot here
And other upcoming worldwide events include WORLD MUSIC AWARDS, headlining CONGO Fashion Week this August and also Latin Couture Fashion Week plus more such as recently being the Headline Designer at the AFRIKADEY Festival! International Fashion Show in Calgary, Canada this August. It seems 2012 for Romero has obviously been a busy one and Im sure an exciting one to come still.
But read on to hear from the uber talented yet very hardworking young man himself for what I can only describe as a very fun interview. See what he thinks of the whole industry and in particular being a Caribbean designer presenting in an African fashion industry. Should there be a seperation? How important is it for him to show in African, Caribbean and Diasporan fashion shows? read on to see his responses.
AFG) Noted in 2003 for being listed on Bank of Scotland’s Rich List 2020, you have obviously been accredited but how did you actually get into fashion and business?
RB) Fashion designing runs through the bloodline. My mother was a Fashion Buyer and now does buying privately for her clients. My grandfather was a tailor back in Jamaica, and Grandmother when she was alive was also a seamstress. It was only natural for me to want to become a fashion designer I think ;)
AFG) You have an amazing background with a great celebrity following. What inspires you now and what would you say is your design philosophy?
RB) I design away from trends so that my clients feel they’re investing in not only clothes but timeless pieces that they can wear season in and season out.
AFG) Do you feel that your race and heritage has been a positive to your career in fashion or has it caused any controversy? If so how have you overcome that? And does your heritage make a difference to how you design?
RB) Being that I am from a Jamaican background, I have always drawn inspiration from my Jamaican heritage. I was designing bashment inspired clothes throughout the glory years of the 90 and 00′s hehehehe! I used to design clothes for girls going to local ragga raves – shorts and bra tops like what you see Lady Gaga wearing now and everyone getting excited for……..I was doing that long before Gaga came on the scene. LOL
With everything in life theres always going to be a fight. My parents had told me from young in age the secret to life as a black man “Know that you’ll have to work alot harder than anyone else to get half the recognition of that of someone non-black.” Thats always stuck with me and has empowered me.
AFG) You showcased this year at Arise Magazine Fashion Week in Lagos. How do you feel as a British/Caribbean showcasing on an African fashion platform?
RB) Well first and foremost us Caribbeans are originally AFRICAN, so I dont like when people try to seperate us as people. makes me ANGRY! Going to Nigeria felt like home. People were loud, aggressive and very much like Jamaicans so I now know we are all defo the same hot blooded people lol.
I LOVED Nigeria and looking forward to working alongside more fashion companies and events in Africa. Hence the opportunity to go Congo this week to showcase my work there in Congo Fashion Week, I didnt hesitate.
AFG) Tell us about your most recent and upcoming collections.
RB) Again they are all timeless luxury pieces that I wanted to introduce myself to the high end luxury level. I wanted to have women feel they NEEDED my garments so very basic shapes with an odd twist of Urban Glamour is what you’ll see in my most recent collections.
ROMERO BRYAN AW12 White Silk Satin Pants
ROMERO BRYAN AW12 velvet long dress
ROMERO BRYAN AW12 Cream Knotted dress
ROMERO BRYAN AW12 Classic Chiffon dress with Swarovski Crystals
AFG) Do you feel there is enough platforms for black/African/Caribbean designers out there? Do you think there should be more events for Caribbean fashion designers?
RB) Honestly, I believe there should be more events full stop for BLACK DESIGNERS to showcase our work and most importantly access the industry through being able to sell units. As after all it is a business of selling our art-forms. Many shows in the Caribbean are more about the models or even worst seen as ENTERTAINMENT purposes – hence why I have chosen real carefully these days about what, or who, I associate my brands with.
I personally think we need to drop the Caribbean and African tags and unite as one people and start taking the race higher as this seperation malarchy clearly isnt working, never has worked and dont think it ever will
AFG) I saw your amazing SS’12 ‘Heroa’ beaded gown adorned with precious Swarovski crystals worn by Alek Wek at AMFW and am in awe. When you first started out your clothing was much younger sassier but has seemed to grow up. Is couture become your design focus?
RB) Aww thank you hun.
Well with everything and everyone, people grow up. I have grown up and learnt so much about this industry and used the time in between not doing anything to learn my craft and research fully into the markets out there. I identified the need for that particular type of high end couture with an Urban edge.
Romero Bryan SS12
ALEK WEK in ROMERO BRYAN
My clothes in the beginning was alot more sexier and sassy, but yep I’ve grown up and so has the people/women around me. I’ve learnt that SEXY doesnt mean TITS OUT as my mother would tease me about my earlier designs ie, Samantha Mumba wearing my gown to the Brit Awards 2001
AFG) As a responsible fashion designer do you consider sustainabiltiy in your design sourcing and/or production? What are your future plans in this area?
RB) Well with so many invitations to showcase the brand in Africa, I have always wanted to source production there in Africa and the Caribbean……….so I say just watch this space. I am in talks with a few companies in these areas in the world as it goes but I cannot enclose anymore info
AFG) Which other African countries have you been to beside Nigeria? And what do you think of Africa’s fashion industry and designers today?
RB) I am off to Congo this week for CONGO FASHION WEEK
and I am real excited. Other countries ive been in Africa were for pure holiday vacation purposes so I haven’t looked into fashion elsewhere. But I can say that I was one of the very few designers there at Arise Magazine Fashion Week to have made sales when showing my collection there in February this year, so it tells me that Africa is ready to move away from the more traditional type printed dresses and demand something new.
AFG) What are your upcoming plans for the brand going forward? Any Fashion shows / colabs / new product areas i.e bags/shoes?
RB) Again, with the confidentiality forms I have signed with companies Im not allowed to open my ‘big mouth’ hehehe. But lets just say I have made even myself proud to know I started this whole empire with just £150 from my Dad to buy a sewing machine to now having big companies nationwide and internationally wanting to be associated with me
AFG) With the 2012 London Olympics just gone AND Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary of Independence on August 6th you must be doubly proud to be British AND of Jamaican heritage. So which events were you specifically looking forward to (need I ask)?
RB) Yea real proud and BOLT, BLAKE and WEIR ah my man dem…and Shelly Ann Frazer ah my gurl too awoah hehehe!
In pure Jamaican style, gotta love this guy.
Above all gotta love his clothes! Check out some more below.
Romero Bryan SS12
Romero Bryan SS12
Romero Bryan SS12
ROMERO BRYAN SS’12 credits:
Photography: Nathan Small
Creative Director/ Stylist: Sarah-Adiana Butler
Hair: Magdalena Tucholska using L’oreal Professionel
Make-up: Lina Dahlbeck
Model: Anna TattonSpecial thanks to KVmedia studios & FaceON Magazine.
Sponsors: Andres of Couture Fashion Week; New York, Borovick Fabrics Ltd (London) & Swarovski International.
ROMERO BRYAN AW’12 credits:
Photograph: Luke Matthew Woodford
Model: Stephanie Beard
Hair and Make-Up: Rosie lee