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Premium leather sandals from D'NexStep

Published:Monday | November 12, 2018 | 12:00 AMLatara Boodie
Each creative design is unique in both style and colour.
In just eight years, Dorrette Ubanks is proud of the growth of her company and looking forward to further development.
D'NexStep sandals are unique, durable and trendy.
This unfinished custom made sandal is a beauty in the making.
Paul Hurlston uses this machine to smooth and polish the sandals.
Terry-lynd Lord concentrates as she paints the straps of a sandal.
Miguel Dacosta (left) and Monique Burk inspect each sandal before approval.
Sydney Gapoor is one of the technicians that aids with the assembly of each sandal.
Randy Smith seen applying glue to the heel of the sandals.

The late Robert Schuller once said tough times never last, but tough people do. For Dorrette Ubanks, founder and managing director of D'Nexstep Accessories, being tough was her only option, and it took a lot of rediscovering to figure out who she was and what she really wanted to do with her life. Her quest for self-growth runs parallel with the exponential development of her premium leather manufacturing business.

Ubanks' position as vice-president for a real estate company was made redundant after 17 years of service. After much consideration, she decided to follow her lifelong dream of working in the fashion industry. For many years, Ubanks made her own clothes which featured numerous unique designs. Her invaluable experience in fashion and design came from assisting her aunt, who was versed in crafting bridal apparel.

After her redundancy, Ubanks visited Jamaica to unwind and think about her next step. One day during her travels, she observed craftsmen making sandals by hand and was amazed by the beauty and craftsmanship associated with

making sandals by hand on such a large scale. For three nights after her visit to the sandal makers, she dreamt that she was designing and making sandals. Not sure what to do about the dreams, she decided on her return to the United States to study how to make sandals. Ubanks spent months learning the different elements of making sandals from master shoemakers, shoemaker suppliers and leather suppliers.

Her goal was to create sandals that were durable, comfortable, unique, and beautiful works of art that can be worn on the feet. Her designs are influenced by the fusion of European, North American and Jamaican cultures. She began making custom-made sandals for family and friends and received positive responses for her dexterity.

Ubanks launched a collection of sandals under the D'NexStep brand in 2010. The D'NexStep sandals line prides itself on being unique, and customisable to meet the style and the needs of each customer. "We have stock sandals, but our customisation service is in high demand. Persons want to feel that they are the only one with their pair of sandals," said Ubanks. Her sandals are handcrafted by a talented team of craftsmen in her studio, located at the National Heroes Circle in Kingston.

D'NexStep sandals are carefully designed using the finest leather. "We focus on the quality and the durability of our products. I source the best and the softest leather for our sandals," said Ubanks. These colourful and eye-catching sandals have an appeal which mimics flowers found in the tropics. Unique and exquisite, the styles include thong, ankle straps, and flip-flop sandals. Each sandal is the product of a seamless assembly line of artisans who see their work as an expression of art and innovation.

D'NexStep accomplishments include appearances on New York City Fashion Week 2011, Rogues Gallery Emerging Designers show, Salon Allure, Miami Swimwear Fashion Week 2011, Fashion Splash 2011, New York City Fashion Week 2010, and Marco Hall Spring/Summer Collection.

For more information on D'NexStep Sandals and Accessories, visit their store at Devon House Kiosk #24, 26 Hope Road Kingston, or call 876-295-4689/ 876-826-4991.