With an astounding 29,000 visitors from the UK and overseas and over 1,400 incredible exhibitors, Autumn Fair introduces some of the world’s best gifts to some of the industry’s best retailers. Launched 25 years ago, in 1990, the fair is now considered to be the number one gift and home trade show attracting buyers from the UK and internationally who are looking for new and innovative products for the year’s big shopping seasons.
Visitors to this years’ event will be captivated by the diverse collection of products presented by Design Caribbean, a project of the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export). Bringing some Caribbean flair to the Autumn Fair from 6-9th September 2015 at the Birmingham NEC, UK will be jewellery and accessories producers Rêve Jewellery, Designs by Nadia, Bijou Lakay and Reecii.
Rêve, which is French for dream, is one of Jamaica’s most successful jewellery and accessories lines. Inspired by the island’s heritage, its people, culture, music and cuisine, Rêve Jewellery is truly uniquely Jamaican. In 2006 while studying at the prestigious Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston Jamaica, Duane Bennett and his sister Teasea co-founded and launched Rêve Jewellery and Accessories. Winner of the Jamaican Avant Garde Designer of the Year award in 2007 and 2009, he went on to capture the imagination and audience of Jamaica with his infamous “RAGING BULL” COUTURE DRESS for the Red Bull “Art of Can” Caribbean competition that was held in Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana. Each of his pieces is hand-made from the best quality precious, non-precious and natural stones, beads and metals including brass, bronze, copper, sterling silver and gold.
In contrast to the extravagant couture style presented by Rêve, Designs by Nadia offers a tranquil line of jewellery. Gathering materials from her homeland Guyana and around the Caribbean, at the heart of her collection lies her philosophy of taking indigenous objects and transforming them into completely new and beautiful pieces. Using materials such as coconut shells, wood, seeds, stones, scrap metal, sea glass and seas stones in her designs, she believes that there is an unlimited amount of natural resources that need to be used in a variety of ways and marketed to the world. Her vision is to take her unique and affordable brand to the world market using rejuvenated indigenous Caribbean materials and precious metals.
The use of natural and otherwise discarded materials, transforming them into works of art can be found throughout the Caribbean. Founder of Haitian based Bijou Lakay, jewellery designer Daphnée Karen Floréal spends her time salvaging bullhorns from farms across Haiti to create jewellery that is inspired by geometric forms and famous personalities. Her concepts have completely changed the Haitian style of dress producing a wide range of rings, earrings, bracelets and necklaces to suit all occasions. Bijou Lakay employs several conscientious craftsmen who come from various parts of the country, migrating to the Haitian capital to seek a better way of life.
The provision of gainful employment through social enterprise is at the heart of one organisation from the twin island state of St Kitts and Nevis. The company supports the fight against tough social issues such as gang violence, HIV prevention, gender inequality, bullying and substance abuse through the provision jobs for many single women and marginalized males, who would not otherwise be able to earn a living. Using recycled materials, Reecii produces a stunning collection of high quality handbags that are made from grass, straw, rattan, mending, screw pine and megol and each purse is accessorised with leather and recycled paper and lined with patterned cotton lining. Each purse is handmade to perfection representing nature in its purest form.
Other exhibitors at the Design Caribbean booth will also include Earthworks from Barbados, Amazon Authentics and Rainforest Pottery from Guyana, Hands in Clay and Baughaus Design Studio from Jamaica, By Making from Trinidad and Josnel Bruno from Haiti.