A Saint International model wearing one of the designs
Sunday July 12 was the climax of the Saint International Style Week, The Fashion Block. The Saint International Fashion Block is held on the biggest catwalk in the Jamaican fashion scene right in the heart of New Kingston. It is held on Knutsford Boulevard right in the middle of the dual carriageway on a runway elevated some 5 ft above the street level surrounded by a huge crowd. On the night of Fashion Block Knutsford Boulevard is partially shut down as it becomes the stage for the Dewight Peters inspired free fashion show, which displays the craft of both local and international designers modeled by the Saint International models.
Another Saint model in a hot polka dot piece
I have been to Fashion Block once before, but at that time I had just bought my DSLR and only had my 18-55mm kit lens and as such had no real zoom power or even an external flash to capture a decent image. So this year since I have accumulated some more gears, I decided that this free fashion show could not miss me. Fashion Block is known for the display of creative designs, but it is also notorious for its very late start. It was scheduled to begin at 8:00pm, so I deliberately decided to arrive at some time after 9:00pm with this in mind. However, despite my best effort to keep in sync with the organizers, they still managed to "outlate" me and the show did not start until approximately 10:00pm! They also managed to outsmart me by relocating the stage from the top of Knutsford Boulevard to further down the road just in front of the restaurant area where Burger King and Pizza Hut are located, so my usual vantage point was no more.
Model and Photographer Edward Masias
I was not in the mood to put myself and my gears in danger while I concentrate on shooting by going into the crowd to shoot, even though there was a strong police presence I the area. I wanted to get on the inside to get some good photos. However, security was tight and there was no way of getting in, but just when all seemed lost, I gained entrance by means of some links. I got the prime position that I wanted, yes the media stage right at the end of the runway! However, that would not make it all a walk in the park as the lighting was definitely not conducive to photographers! It was so bad that at one point the bar with the lights was blocking the stage and even after that was fixed there was a light pointed directly at the media stage! That too was later rectified, but the lighting still offered a challenge. So I had to contend with the poor lighting and just do my best in the face of the obstacles.
A pretty scary piece by local designer Dexter Pottinger
Despite the hiccups and the late start, I did get to see the creativity of some of our local designers as well as overseas designers who were invited to display their work. The MC Jerry D, kept the show going as he introduced the various collections that kept the crowd's focus fixed to the runway. Dexter Pottinger certainly outdid himself with his freakishly... downright scary, yet creative, piece which he used to introduce his collection. Certified Divas Tami Chyn and Tifa provided the musical entertainment with a very brief performance to punctuate the the struts of the models.
Tami Chyn and Tifa
Dewight Peters poses with his models and one of the designers
Overall, I did enjoy the experience as this was the first time I was shooting at a fashion show from the media stage. I am not too pleased with the photos I got though, but I viewed it as a learning experience and I am sure I will do better next time. To view all the photos click here. Note: All images are under the copyright of Joel Finnigen and should not be used or modified without my permission.