Jamaican Style Hits Hollywood Runway

Jennifer Prudhome brings the vibrant influences of the Caribbean color palette to her Jenny P line — and she says the trend is growing for all seasons.

Jenny P's fashion at Project Ethos X: The Experience of Fashion

Jenny P's fashion at Project Ethos X: The Experience of Fashion

Jennifer Prudhome prides herself on ensuring that her designs are done right — and that means bringing some style from the Caribbean into the mix of clothing that carries her Jenny P label.

Prudhome recently spent some time designing a custom hoodie with a graffiti-art crown for teen rapper Sean Kingston, and Carib Press was on hand for a chat while she painted a picture of her colorful world.

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Custom hoodie for teen rapper Sean Kingston

“I am bringing in the urban vibe to this hoodie,” Prudhome declared.

The urban vibe included an asymmetrical crown on the gray Hoodie — drawn free-hand by Prudhome — with applications of black and white acrylic paint. The finishing touches included a few stitches here and there as part of a reconstruction of the hoodie, topped off with a splash of colorful green and yellow paint.

Prudhome’s design session on behalf of the rapper put her back where she started in the fashion game, making hand-dyed T-shirts and hoodie’s adorned with stenciled images and reconstructed into fresh designs.

The 24-year-old has plenty of other stuff going on these days, too.

“I moved from T-shirts and hoodie’s to a contemporary line of clothing conceptualized exclusively for women.” Prudhome says, referring to a 15-piece fall 2009 collection unveiled at the Project Ethos X: The Experience of Fashion, which took place on August 21 in Hollywood. Project Ethos is known for producing red-carpet events that bring together various forms of creativity from young adults of the so-called “Millennial Generation.” Prudhome’s collection featured uniquely constructed and richly colored pieces with couture style and figure-flattering cuts — and they rocked the house, judging by loud cheers, applause and whistles that greeted the debut.

Prudhome has come a long way, partly because she got an early start. She was painting and also designing business cards for friends and family before she reached her teen years. She says that her mother would sell the paintings to co-workers and friends. Prudhome decided to embrace her artistic dreams in her early teens, blending abilities in painting and design with a newly discovered love for sewing. She recalls going to the annual Black Business Expo in Los Angeles back then, wearing a reconstructed denim skirt she had made for herself. Someone stopped her and wanted to know where she got the skirt. She ended up making a skirt and jacket for sale. She says she looks back on the happenstance as the moment she began to understand her potential as a designer.

Much of that potential flows from her Jamaican heritage, Prudhome says, adding that she loves the music, color palette, and overall culture of her Jamaican mother’s homeland, and has fused elements of the Caribbean into her own clothing line.

That means bold color and a sense of originality.

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Prudhome fuses elements of the Caribbean into her clothing line.

“I love using rich color — neon, fuchsia and tangerine — that’s where my mom comes in,” Prudhome says. “I grew up with mom wearing colors every season. I wore bright orange in the middle of winter — it was not a fashion faux paux.”

And it’s less a faux paux than ever these days, Prudhome says.

“There was a time when bright neon’s were too bold for mainstream designers, so you would not see bright colors in their fall collections,” she says. “During the fall, you would see black, brown, cranberry and gray. It wasn’t until a few years ago that designers have incorporated colors, and the trend continues.”

The trend has been pushed along by larger demographic changes in the U.S., according to Prudhome, who has seen consumers become more color-savvy and bold. Some of that owes to growing influences of Afro-Caribbean, African, and Latin American culture in U.S. markets, she says, adding that the trend has recently reached a tipping point, with consumers across demographic lines shifting from a fear of color to a love of color.

hand-dyed T-shirts and hoodies

Proudhome’s reconstructs fresh designs from hand-dyed T-shirts and hoodies adorned with stenciled images.

Prudhome launched Jenny Ps designs in 2005 while attending California State University of Long Beach (CSULB), where she earned degrees in Fashion Merchandising and Textiles and Clothing.

Today her designs are showcased on the runway of Project Ethos, boutiques in Los Angeles and Orange County, and have caught the notice of the trade and consumer press, including California Apparel News and The 360 Magazine.

Just as impressive has been Prudhome’s ability to handle the business of fashion, mixing art with commerce.

“I am my own finance person,” she says. “I have to be a business woman. Art has to sell, clothes have to sell.”

Prudhome also handles her own marketing, including graphic design and the line’s website.

Then there’s the matter of getting out of the studio and putting the goods on display.

“Fashion shows are an excellent opportunity to build name recognition and familiarity with an audience that may not have known you yesterday, but now they do,” she said. “Network, network, network”

Next season’s ideas, meanwhile, come from many sources.

“Fashion forecasting comes from many places,” she says. “A walk outside, things you notice such as the sky, flowers, the way people live, and their surroundings. I might take a trip to Jamaica and receive inspiration from the greenery in Fern Gully and decide to create an entire collection that is influenced by the environment.”

So what does the fall trend report look like, according to Prudhome? For the daring there will be color-block styling trends, featuring bold chunks of various shades that will be in this season.

“The buzz for fall runways will illustrate creativity and artistry in terms of color and design, so we should see a lot of neon brights in the fall, which you [typically] would not see unless it is summer or spring,” she says. “That is something I’ve always done — I incorporate color.”

Looks like the fashion world will catch up with Jenny P this fall.

Visit jennyps.com on the Internet for more information about Prudhome’s designs.

Sheannette Virtue is a writer for Carib Press.

Photos from Carib Press

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