Designer Theodore Elyett from The Bahamas exchanged with artisan Catherine Rocheford from Barbados to create a bespoke The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange - an initiative for established and emerging fashion talent from across the Commonwealth’s 53 countries to showcase the power and potential of artisan fashion skills to deliver new networks, trade links and highlight sustainability.
Theodore has created an evening gown that represents the flora and fauna of the island nations. The cotton voile bodice is silk screen printed with leaves and palm trees while the skirt depicts seashells, turtles and sand dollars native to the region, representing the precious aquatic life and environment of Barbados, the Bahamas, and surrounding islands. The fluid skirt reflects the waters that flow around the islands and is embroidered with Swarovski upcycled crystals. The look is completed by bespoke jewellery, handmade by Catherine Rocheford in Barbados, designed to mirror the almost circular motifs of the textile design. The jewellery was made using beading, and hammered sterling silver circles with soldered silver dots, softened with an eyelash ribbon that adds additional volume.
The project was launched by Commonwealth Secretary General the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland and Livia Firth, founder of sustainability consultancy Eco-Age and supported by Swarovski, The Woolmark Company and MATCHESFASHION.COM.