WE PRAISE the position taken by Anglican Bishop Claude Berkley who apologised unequivocally for a fashion show over the weekend which featured scantily-clad models in the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Port of Spain.
Berkley struck the right balance between the positive aspects of the cultural milieu in which it operates and the need to take due care to prevent the inappropriate. It’s all a reminder for people to take greater care when it comes to the sensitive optics involved in a melting-pot society such as ours.
In a media release, Berkley said the church “missed the mark” with the show and what it featured and expressed regret and remorse.
“We are deeply sorry!” he said “Further investigation of the issue will follow, and appropriate measures taken to prevent any recurrence of this kind of exposure. Be assured that what took place is not the practice of the Anglican Church. Even though the church might promote the positive aspects of the culture in which it witnesses, due care must be taken to ensure that participants do not cross the line into negativity and impropriety.”
It’s important for the church to follow up on its own procedures of vetting events on its compound.
Meanwhile even Christopher Nathan, CEO and creative director of Coco Velvet International Fashion and Model Management – the original organisers of Fashion Week/Style Week – distanced himself from the event.
“Seeing skimpily clad models parading in front of the Trinity Cathedral’s altar on the cover of Monday’s daily newspapers was highly offensive to him,” a media release said.
These developments come at an interesting time for the fashion industry which has long been seen as an important lynchpin of the programme of economic diversification.
“The creative sectors in TT will be the driver of the economy,” declared business adviser Fazad Mohammed, of the National Entrepreneurship Development Co Ltd (Nedco), in an address earlier this year at the inaugural Fashion Co Ltd (FashionTT) Entrepreneurial Development Programme.
A collaboration between FashionTT and Nedco, the programme – which ran from January to July – focused on enhancing the business skills of 64 emerging fashion designers. Participants were offered training in business plan development, record keeping, costing and pricing, customer service, marketing, and tax management, to name a few areas.
“The indigenous fashion industry is well positioned to be an active player in international trade,” noted Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon at the same event. “The Government is therefore committed to creating an improved environment for international trade, in which we want you designers to participate.”
Style Week will feature fashion tours, live musical performances, promotional luncheons, model challenges, training sessions, runways with top local and regional designers, and an awards ceremony.
We hope the cathedral faux pas will not overshadow all of the diverse elements that have been assembled for Fashion Week. It just was not the right fit.