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'Paradise Plum' sweetens deal with UK-based fashion brand - Cross-industry collaboration to take Naomi Cowan's single nautical

Published:Thursday | June 21, 2018 | 12:00 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
Contributed Alessandra Bell, founder of Coconautical.
Contributed Reggae singer Naomi Cowan with producer of Paradise Plum, Teflon Zincfence.
Contributed Some of the pieces from the Coconautical resort line inside Topshop.
Contributed Reggae singer, Naomi Cowan.

Entertainers often create their distinct stage look, and the same goes for fashion designers and their collections. Occasionally, fashion draws on musical culture for inspiration, which is what Alessandra Bell, founder of UK-based resort line Coconautical, did for her latest digital campaign. The Jamaican-bred designer decided to return to her roots to find one element that captured the feel of the brand, but with an international appeal that is when she linked up with rising singing sensation, Naomi Cowan.

"What this shows is that creativity knows no boundaries, and people should collaborate across industries. Oftentimes in the Caribbean, we try to copy the rest of the world while people look to us for what we are doing," Cowan told The Gleaner.

Her newest single, Paradise Plum, produced by Teflon Zincfence, will be used as the theme song for the campaign which is being dubbed 'Girls Around the World' and features nine coveted collections, including contemporary Peruvian swimwear by Capittana; plus-size swimwear by Biliblond located in Tel Aviv, Israel; woven hats and handbags by Chila Bags and Ka'imima in Colombia, among others. According to Bell, all the brands are represented or supported by women.

"So basically, Coconautical is a vehicle to connect all the brands that's over 40 international brands, with the customers and buyers on a wholesale level. Most of these are resort wear and represent an exotic and idyllic lifestyle that has become a really big trend lately," Bell told The Gleaner.

Paradise Plum, named for the hard sugar-coated sour candy, which is labelled as a love song, caught the attention of the designer because of its tropical feel along with the authenticity and arrangement of the entire production, which helped with piecing clips from each of the promotional videos from the brands that make up Coconautical.

"Paradise Plum immediately came to my mind along with the entire concept, for a component that represents all the things that define me, my faith, the brands and beauty of the culture, especially with the visuals. I initially looked at gospel, but thought it was too overt or Christian, and may not be palatable to everybody, as well as ska but it was too Caribbean and does not resonate with modern culture," said Bell.


Candy-coloured culture


The single is about making a connection with someone without having to try too hard or talk too much about yourself, said Cowan. "You can just interact in the ambience of whatever environment as the song says in silence," she explained.

According to Cowan, the campaign video is the perfect match to her own music video concept, sans the girls in bikinis.

"It is going to be a candy-coloured film is what the director, Kia Williams, is calling it, featuring fashion-forward people from different industries that are creative and have inspired me throughout my life; it will not be a typical music video," said the singer.

In terms of the fashion for the shoot, the daughter of gospel-reggae legends Tommy Cowan and Carlene Davis has been taking the time to dig through her parents' closets. The singer noted that she wants to create the perfect synergy for her tomboy-lover-of-vintage style that many persons recognised at the recently held Calabash Festival when she paired her father's Reggae Sunsplash jersey with black ripped denim shorts.

There is also a possibility that items from the Coconautical brand will also be featured in the music video for the single but that has not been confirmed.

Coconautical will be distributed by several retailers, including popular global brand Topshop at its flagship store on Oxford Street in London, which means the music will be featured across multiple platforms.