A commentary on our natural ecosystems: promoting activism through print design

Commonwealth Fashion Council

 Explore the exchange story of designer Theodore Elyett from The Bahamas and artisan Catherine Rocheford from Barbados and find out how they created their look for The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange, 2018.

“Moving forward, I would say that I will remain most mindful of the environmental impact of my brand. As designers, it is not always front of mind for us to consider our footprint on the environment; but it is especially important for me as an island-nation designer to be mindful of the small role I play in a much larger picture in sustaining our beautiful world.” 
Theodore Elyett
The Exchange: The Bahamas x Barbados
For The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange 2018, designer Theodore Elyett exchanged with artisan Catherine Rocheford to create a look that was inspired by the islands nature. The look was unveiled at Buckingham Palace on February 19, 2018, and later moved to the Australian High Commission, London, where it was open to the public in the run up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit, April 2018.
The Bahamas: Designer Theodore Elyett
Theodore Elyett catapulted into the fashion world when he was thirteen. Thanks to access to his mum’s garment factory and an early interest in sewing, a young Theodore won a competition to design a dress for Miss Bahamas. Fast forward 20 years and today Theodore has established himself not only throughout the Caribbean, but also in Europe and China, having shown at both London Fashion Week and in Beijing. Known for his bold prints, innovative textures and dramatic silhouettes, Theodore’s design aesthetic is very sophisticated.
Barbados: Artisan Catherine Rocheford
Catherine trained as a textile designer, and has over 25 years experience in the business. She started creating accessories as a hobby but they were so popular that she started a business designing and creating her accessories line. Her brand combines indigenous leather, Sea Island cotton and mahogany with semi-precious stones, metals and fresh water pearls, all traditional materials that she crafts into bold innovative styles. 
The story behind the look
Theodore has created an evening gown that represents the flora and fauna of the island nations. The look was completed with jewellery created by Catherine Rocheford from Barbados. 

Illustration of the dress

The Bodice

The cotton voile bodice is silk screen printed with leaves and palm trees.

The Skirt

The skirt depicts seashells, turtles and sand dollars native to the region.

Patterns inspired by nature

Both patterns chosen to create the look represent the precious aquatic life and environment of Barbados, the Bahamas, and surrounding islands.

The fluid skirt reflects the waters that flow around the islands.

The waistline is embellished with Swarovski upcycled crystals.

Handmade Jewellery

The look is completed with 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.

The accessories were softened with an eyelash ribbon that adds additional volume. 

Final look on display at Buckingham Palace, 19 February 2018

Final look on display at the Australian High Commission, London, 22 February 2018

Credits: Story

This content has been specifically curated for the Google Arts & Culture platform on behalf of the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange exhibition that launched on the 19th of February at Buckingham Palace in partnership with Swarovski, The Woolmark Company and MATCHESFASHION.COM.

The project, created and managed by Eco-Age, with the support of The Commonwealth Fashion Council and The British Fashion Council.

More information about the images is available by clicking on them.
Read more about the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange at http://eco-age.com/commonwealth-fashion-exchange/

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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