Sonia Noel takes a green return to her ‘roots’

Designer Sonia Noel and her team of fashion enthusiasts are going green this year, focusing on the environment and injecting a concern in her scheduled collections, as well as upcoming projects because “the time has come to think green”.

But as they gear up to begin working ahead of a new collection she is set to unveil in another few weeks, Sonia is quick to point out that her designing roots are grounded in a love for the environment.

“…The beginning [collections] was mostly about earth tones and natural fabrics which created a sense of awareness about the environment and what it has to offer, and what we should be protecting because it so beautiful,” Sonia said.

Sonia Noel
Sonia Noel

She reflected on how simple yet gorgeous those early designs were in an interview with The Scene earlier this week, and pointed to the fact that they paid tribute to Guyana’s natural beauty. Sonia said that she drew easy inspiration from the environment, adding that the focus now is to return to those roots and deliver collections that spotlight the country’s flora, particularly its virgin forests.

Her new line will be showcased at an upcoming gala in St Lucia titled, ‘Celebrities against Prostate Cancer’ – a charity/fundraiser fashion event. She will also feature at Fashion Week Trinidad & Tobago in May.

Sonia admits that she feels compelled to join the global drive of thinking green because she views it as an important movement given the challenges facing the environment today. She noted that the environment has become a hot topic that it is gaining widespread attention across the globe and in the Caribbean region with Guyana taking the lead.

The local designer, now based in Barbados, mentioned the efforts of President Bharrat Jagdeo in calling for greater protection of the environment and his focus on preservation saying that such efforts are part of the reason why the decision to go green this year was taken.

“It was recently that I read about Caricom adopting our position on the environment and that is because of his [Jagdeo] efforts,” Sonia added.

She opined that the creative industry has a role to play in cosseting the environment, particularly now. She said too, that her interests have expanded to include the global economic downturn and how the industry could play a role in building the strength of regional economies.

The designer revealed that she has been partnering with other regional designers to foster the concept ‘Support Caribbean Manufacture’ as a sustainable thrust for regional integration in an effort to maximize financial benefits.

Under the artistic direction of Richard Young, she recently showcased her line, ‘Ethnic Innuendo’, together with acclaimed Trinidadian designer, Claudia Pegus – recent recipient of the UNESCO Seal of Excellence Award for her contribution to the development and direction of the West Indian Sea Island Cotton industry. The show entitled ‘Signatures of Caribbean Style’ was held at the new Bay Gardens Resort in Rodney Bay, St Lucia and proved to be a tremendous success, according to her.

At the local level, Sonia is fuelling her commitment to think green by incorporating the theme through her upcoming programmes – Guyana Model Search (GMS) and Designer Portfolio.

Models interested in being a part of GMS will be expected to take up platforms promoting environmental awareness. Sonia said the designers of the Designer Portfolio programme must also advocate for the preservation of the environment.

For the designers, she said, they must be conscious of the world around them in designing while promoting natural fibres, reducing the dependency on synthetic fabrics and highlighting the use of colours mirroring the environment.

She said that registration will commence in April across the country for the 2009 reality television shows for Guyana Model Search and Designer Portfolio, adding that the National Communications Network (NCN) and HJTV will air the shows.

Further, she said that while the environment is the major theme of the upcoming projects her team is currently looking at ways to incorporate the issues of domestic violence and HIV into the shows.

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