AS IF their fast times and history-making moments in track and field aren’t enough, Jamaican athletes continue to draw interest to the sport with their fashion statements.
Fashion designer Denise Katz describes them as ‘daring and edgy’.
“Jamaican athletes have a fashion sense that is daring and edgy,” Katz said.
“We are always looking forward to seeing what the latest ‘look’ will be, as we know it’s going to be amazing and exciting – we are never disappointed. This adds pizazz and creates excitement. Our athletes have fantastic showmanship.”
Katz, who created the swimsuit worn by former Miss World Lisa Hanna in 1993, said a number of Jamaicans have mastered the art of mixing athletics with fashion, but she has a few favourites of her own.
“Top on my list are Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson Herah, Sheree Francis, Anastasia LeRoy and Yanique Levy. Cannot leave out Asafa Powell, who is quite the gentleman athlete in fashion,” she said.
The former Royal Palm Estate actor said Jamaica’s willingness to stand out on any platform should be credited for Jamaicans’ creative fashion choices on and off the track.
“Jamaican athletes have a strong sense of purpose and creativity, and this shows through in many instances in their fashion choice; always making a statement from the moment they set foot on the track. Standing head and shoulders above everyone else, with their own unique look, that can’t be missed,” Katz said.
She said these current fashion statements by Jamaican athletes are inspirational to younger athletes.
“Our younger athletes are inspired, I’m sure, by not only the world records that have been set by our athletes, but also to see our athletes with their own distinctive fashion style. Feeling good about oneself, gives the confidence to push to even greater heights,” she said.
She said this would also help them get sponsorship deals with sports and fashion companies such as Nike and PUMA.
Katz said Jamaicans are not only making bold fashion statements in athletics. She designed the Jamaica ‘Victory’ Olympic suit for the Jamaican bobsled team, inspired by the island’s 60th year of independence.
“It was a pleasure to have worked along with PUMA on the outfits for the Jamaican bobsled team for the Winter Olympics in China recently,” she said. “
She said she would love to work again with PUMA on outfits for Jamaican athletes, not only for winter sports, but also in athletics.
“It would be such an honour to design and make outfits for the track and field athletes,” Katz said.
“I would really like to have that opportunity and I’m raring to go as I have quite a few sketches of designs which have been inspired by watching our athletes perform. I’m so very proud to be Jamaican and, with fashion design as my life’s work and passion, I continue to make my contribution.”