Deluxe Couture premières Jamaican-made, limited edition collection
Amanda Torrington doesn’t merely sew. The Swiss-born designer speaks the language of fabric and interweaves cultures and the splendour of life through her fashion brand Deluxe Couture.
Jamaican culture is the muse for her current Jamaican-made, limited-edition collection, which pulls from her experiences with the island since she was a teenage girl, to her present explorations as an adopted yardie – being the wife of dancer and businessman Chad ‘Global Bob’ Torrington.
“What inspired a Jamaican-made, limited edition of Deluxe Couture is that my target audience here is more open-minded towards creatively expressing themselves through fashion as opposed to my base in Switzerland,” she told The Sunday Gleaner. “I get inspiration by travelling around the island and seeing at first hand the trends and behavioural habits of the people. Attending street parties in the inner-city communities also gives me this advantage to see what styles are trending among the women and men.”
Made from scratch with love, high-end fashion enthusiasts can choose from various cover-ups, skirts, pants, jumpsuits, jackets, bombers, waistcoats, kimonos, wrap tops, blouses and banana bags. Intricate prints are a distinct feature of her creations and identity as her Italian grandmother was a self-taught designer who would adorn her with beautiful prints. Besides, “Life would be too boring wearing only solid colours,” Torrington laughed.
The limited-edition line also includes handmade products like ‘One Love’ tote bags, reggae belts, reggae cases, aprons and reusable make-up wipes. The last two items are an oddity in the local fashion industry which was quite deliberate.
“I always observe what is missing or what can be added for both target markets that I am catering for, which are tourists and locals, hence why I launched two handmade aprons featuring Jamaican colours and reggae colours,” she said. “Whether it is purchased for a family member or friend, everybody knows somebody who loves to cook.”
As for the reusable make-up wipes, Torrington said the product is dominant in Europe for ecological reasons, and “I know make-up lovers are everywhere, so I told myself that I will make this an essential item in the Jamaican market because it makes more sense to have a reusable make-up wipe as opposed to using cotton and disposing of it.”
She said the feedback to the collection has been tremendous, with locals now being able to buy her products from Xtras and Fontana Pharmacy’s Waterloo location. But getting her designs into Jamaican stores as a foreigner has been no easy feat.
“I personally learned for the past seven years that not because I am married to a Jamaican means that I am automatically accepted into the culture,” she shared. “I have had many [nos] than [yeses] but these are what makes the blood, sweat and tears all worth it. Getting the products in stores is not my main challenge but gaining the trust and respect for my branding was what my main concern is. I want people to realise that I am someone who actually studied and obtained my degrees at the highest fashion school in Switzerland versus someone who just sews as a hobby. Creating fashion is an art, and making locally made products should be given more emphasis so that persons can understand the price reflection of value and quality. This is a general challenge not only in Jamaica but worldwide.”
Despite this, Deluxe Couture has been standing strong for more than 10 years, even helping to feed Kingston’s homeless through proceeds from special collections.
Deluxe Couture is on Instagram, @_deluxecouture_. Contact Amanda Torrington at firstname.lastname@example.org.