With encouragement from a friend, Sharon Fraites has fashioned her creative skills into an enterprise that provides for her and her three sons.
She took her line of clothing to the first ever GuyExpo in 1995: hand-painted cotton harvested from Kimbia. “I had created a range of clothing for adults and children. The children’s line was a big hit,” she says.
She would’ve welcomed the opportunity to participate in this year’s inaugural business exposition but it never happened. She doesn’t say why.
Fraites makes no bones about what she says is the high quality of work that she has been able to deliver over the years. It is, she says, what keeps her loyal customers coming back to her. Last weekend she appeared decidedly upbeat after some of her creations had gone down well with an appreciative audience in the fashion show segment of the Marian Academy Christmas Concert.
Fraites says she experiences some of her proudest moment when her customers not only wear her creations but make purchases; some as gifts for friends and relatives. She holds the view that that is a significant vote of confidence in her work.
The versatile craftswoman has also developed something of a reputation for creating men’s shirts as well as children’s clothing.
As of Monday, Fraites opened her doors once again to some of Guyana’s budding designers, who are participating in her annual Christmas Design Workshop. Beyond this event she hosts similar workshops during the Easter and August holidays. There, children are given an opportunity to create gifts and items and clothing for themselves using craft and fabric painting technologies.
Fraites occasionally displays her work to modest gatherings at tea parties and fashion shows.
From her 165 Crown Street, Queenstown address, Fraites is already looking forward to next year’s 50th independence anniversary celebrations which she hopes will serve as a springboard to greater things. Even now, she says, if her phone rings (656-2805) she’ll be only too happy to answer. She understands that the expected surfeit of visitors to the country during the anniversary season will provide her work to a heightened level of exposure and open up opportunities for growth in her market.