SHADES OF AFRICA MIXES HERITAGE + CULTURE WITH FASHION


Tanya Cameron is a local Jamaican Designer who transformed the Fashion and Creative Industries in Jamaica by cleverly carving out a niche that she holds dear to her heart – African apparel that features unique and intrinsic designs!


Shades of Africa is a retail outlet and Manufacturer of Elegant and sophisticated the fashion where Tanya plays the dual role of CEO and Managing and whenever the need arises, other multiple roles.  The boutique first opened its doors on June 9, 2003 at 38a Trafalgar Road in Kingston and offers a wide range of services including: in Custom design, alterations and fashion consulting for male, female and children and d├ęcor for events. The brand’s mantra is “A Tradition of Elegance and Beauty” was borne out of Tanya’s displeasure of how the African influence component was missing from the Jamaican Heritage and the way local designs and clothing seemed to lack vibrancy and diversity in fabric choices inherent to African Culture.

She believed the designs had somehow become mundane and lost their true meaning as they would only be re-designed and restyled for the next generations year by year. Tanya took a leap of faith using her savings to embark on the journey of her life and visited Africa! She was able to connect with her African roots and visited countries on the African continent including Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Mali and several others. Everything she learned in these countries from sewing and production techniques to different fabric choices and learning the culture intimately and the powerful stories of the people which she took back to Jamaica and applied to Shades of Africa.


What motivated you to start Shades of Africa?


Apart from creating beautiful designs my number one reason for starting this company (Shades of Africa Ltd) is to create employment for people and help in nation building.

Secondly, I wanted to sensitize the local and international markets on the many uses of tribal prints to create elegant and timeless African-inspired fashions.

Thirdly, I wanted the freedom to create my own wealth and in return afford me the opportunity to fulfill my lifetime goal.




What is your philosophy for life and what motivates you on a daily basis?

If at first, you do not succeed, try and try again.  2.  The smile on my son's face in the morning.

Describe your creative process?

My creativity depends on the moment, time, and events surrounding me at that given time.

  
Do you remember the 1st time “Shades of Africa” got recognition from the Media? Tell us about that? 

Yes, it was Heineken Start time at Mas Camp in 2004 when Michael Barnette asked Shades of Africa to showcase our fabulous designs. It was awesome.  Some of our designs were featured in the Jamaica Gleaner.  


Of all the various facets of Fashion – why did African Influence Designs stand out the most to you? 

African designs and fabrics are beautiful, the energy, the vibrancy of the colors, the rich heritage, the feeling you get while working with fabrics, it is just magnificent.  You come alive just working with them. 


What is one important lesson you’ve learned since being a Designer? 

Not everyone is your client. 

What can we expect from Shades of Africa for spring 2019 and beyond? 

In 2019-2020, we are working on some fabulous, cool and comfortable fashions, fused with African print colors as well as the architectural emphasis with a modern twist. Beyond: to increase Shades of Africa brand awareness, increase revenues and profits, a powerful E-commerce website, Invest in additional sewing equipment, technology and employ additional team members.    

Do you think Jamaica is more accepting of creative careers like Fashion?

Yes, indeed.




Any words of advice for upcoming Designers looking to start a Business in Fashion? 

Try and get the experience first before launching your fashion business, work within small companies for at least 3 years, starting at entry level and work your way up, learn everything, keep close to your managers and learn from him or her. When you're ready to start your small business, find a mentor, get help from Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), pursue courses on how to start a small business and succeed. Stay away from bank loans and do more bootstrapping. Running a business is hard work, know your numbers and invest wisely. Stay focus and determined to succeed and build your brand on quality and reliability. 

  
Shades of Africa has been in business for almost 15 years and pride ourselves on the delivery of high-quality service, products, and efficiency.  We provide excellent customer care unmatched by any other in our industry. Our clientele spans across Jamaica as well as overseas, particularly the United States. They work closely with the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) competition, sponsoring its contestants by providing fashion consultation and outfitting them with our original custom made designs. We also participate in several cultural shows such as Jamaica 50 celebrations, African Expos and Fairs, Style Week Jamaica and have been Miss Jamaica World and Miss Jamaica Universe wardrobe designer since 2007. We have also been featured in international magazines such as the Aspire, Vogue, and others.

This brand also prides itself as being a family oriented company in that our employees become part of a family when they work with us and without them as the backbone of the business; we would not be able to reach where we are today.  Our employees are our greatest asset.

Social Media
Instagram: @shades of Africa | Facebook: shadesofafrica
Visit her the newly launched E-commerce site


17 Holborn Road, Kingston 10. Jamaica W. I.
Tel: 876-  797-7591, 633-1243

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