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Fashioning Jamaica

This thesis explores the opportunity of a blended fashion framework that incorporates both the traditional and contemporary fashion design & manufacturing techniques, whilst taking into consideration new innovations that may be ahead of us. It emphasizes the potential of a flourishing fashion community in the Caribbean, and Jamaica in particular. 

The thesis uncovers the fashion design and manufacturing that has a long history in Jamaica; it has not grown to the scale large enough to be comparable to countries that have similar characteristics with Jamaica such as Bangladesh and India. China is also a force to reckon with in the global fashion and garment industry though it is not a developing country like Jamaica. These countries not only have their thriving models: the research uncovers learnings from their failures. 

The thesis contributes a new understanding of the most current information about fashion and design, as well as the relevance of the traditional craft in enhancing the uptake of contemporary knowledge and methods of fashion and design in Jamaica. It provides both practical and conceptual means of making the contemporary knowledge of fashion and design accessible and usable to the population of Jamaica, in creating an accessible framework. 

The PhD project brings a new approach to manufacturing to Jamaica and focuses primarily on running textiles and garment manufacturing workshops. The target population for the project is women and youths. The workshops are particularly crucial because they are set to bring skills and employment opportunities through upskilling. 

The research will make the case that a framework that supports the garment design and manufacturing industry of Jamaica can be developed in such a way that its utility is apparent to the local government. Once the framework has been adopted by the government, relevant and key stakeholders can be identified and involved in the design and manufacturing, including market analysis. 

I have chosen Jamaica to be the pilot grounds for this program and framework because Jamaica is not just my home country but also my cultural heritage. I have understood and internalised the cultural relevance of Jamaica's history and how such history can be exploited and amalgamated with the contemporary knowledge on fashion and design.

Other countries such as Bangladesh and India have made significant strides in terms of their exploration of fashion and design. Frameworks tend to work differently for different geographical areas. The uptake of the frameworks is also dependent on socioeconomic status of the country. The research is undertaken in full knowledge of the revolutionary impact of technology on fashion design and manufacturing. Digitisation helps sort out fashion items, design and manufacturing process, and also ensures adequate implementation of the set objectives. Thus, it is crucial to recognize the utility of technology in furthering the project in Jamaica.

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