A local designer’s vision for the Cayman flag was fulfilled during New York Fashion Week this month.
Olivia B, also known as Georgette Bodden, raised the flag for during her final walk at the Nolcha Shows Spring/Summer 2017 “Ones To Watch” runway show on Sept. 12 at the ArtBeam event space in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood.
“Some guests even recognized the flag. It was surely a proud moment to be the first person to raise the flag at one of the world’s top international fashion weeks,” said Ms. Bodden.
The local fashion designer said her vision was to highlight the Cayman Islands as an emerging, fashion-conscious destination, after her debut in the Allure Fashion Show in Grand Cayman in 2015, and she did just that by mentioning Cayman in numerous TV interviews.
“Being a part of the Nolcha Shows runway will be an experience that I will forever talk about and be grateful for,” she said.
The Nolcha Shows are held during New York Fashion Week for independent fashion designers to showcase their collections to a global audience of press, retailers, stylists and industry influencers.
Ms. Bodden’s style features bright, bold colors, reflecting her personality and the vibrant mixed culture of the Cayman Islands and the Caribbean. The Cayman collection featured in New York was inspired by the royal poinciana: her prints capture the essence of the tree’s many clusters of beautiful rich red-orange flowers.
“When I first saw the fabric early in 2016, the poinciana trees were not yet in bloom as they typically bloom in the mid-summer. But once the trees started blooming and flamboyantly displaying their beauty all around the island, especially the one on the lawn of the old government building the Glass House, I knew that would be the name for the collection,” said Ms. Bodden.
Preparing for the show meant that a lot of work, prayer, faith, dedication and persistence went into her designs, she said. The work took many forms, from writing sponsorship proposals and following up with sponsors to working with her seamstress late after work to complete the collection.
“I survived purely on passion. Although that may sound like a lot of work, now that the runway show is over, the real work of international marketing through buyers begins now,” she said. “The fashion industry is a very rewarding but competitive industry. You have to be thick-skinned, resilient, smart and persistent if you want to survive. With that being said, I intend to take this passion as far as I possibly can.”
Ms. Bodden’s Facebook page states that while working in the finance industry for more than 17 years, she immersed herself in various art forms as a creative outlet to express herself and maintain balance. Although the brand Olivia B is new to runways, her passion for fashion started at an early age when she spent countless hours watching her mother craft eye-catching, one-of-a-kind pieces.
At the Allure Fashion Weekend Grand Cayman, her first collection received overwhelming support from the crowd, she said, and since then, she has designed for former Miss Cayman Islands (2008) Nicosia Lawson and reigning Miss Cayman Islands, Monyque Brooks.