This year's Carnival brought with it sultry costumes, great vibes and revellers who had been anticipating the season since last year's close. In the wave of yesterday's bedazzled pieces we're sure a few caught your eyes and left you wondering who made them. Quite a few were made by Tasha-Kay Wilson for Designs by Nnessa,who prior to the Road March gave All Woman Fashion (AWF) the gem-studded details.
For event co-ordinator/décor specialist Tasha- Kay Wilson, Carnival is not just a time for revelling; it's her busiest season. During the period leading up to the parade, she spent hours labouring over her dazzling handmade wire bras, paying keen attention to finish and comfort.
Though it wasn't until 2016 that Wilson officially created a business page, the Edna Manley College graduate recalls her foray into the world of design. “I guess I always found it interesting. In primary school I had a sketchbook of what I considered designs at the time.” It wasn't until college however, that she decided to become a merchandiser.”I've been doing this [designing] for two years. I started out by working with a friend; I would embellish stuff she made for her clients,” she explains.
Having pursued a degree in Textiles, Wilson found herself more drawn to fashion and began teaching herself. But she credits the rich and diverse culture of African Art for her affinity for Carnival. “Carnival has one of the richest histories in the Caribbean,” she pointed out. She had her fashion epiphany after studying a course in college which “...really opened (her) eyes...” Wilson admits always having been enamoured of Carnival. “Carnival brings me so much joy. Just seeing the vibrant costumes and how Carnival brings everybody together, gets me so excited.”
It is this joy that Wilson hopes to convey to her clients through her pieces, using colour psychology and emotions as major influencers.”I want women to feel confident when wearing my pieces.They are different and, trust me, you will notice them,” Wilson shared.
However, it has not been all seamless stitching for the young entrepreneur. A major challenge was finding a steady supplier of accessories. Thankfully, that's now behind her! Her focus is on the pleasure she feels after completing each piece. The only regret she harbours is not having started sooner. “I could've started way sooner but lack of confidence — doubt— held me back,”she said. Having suppressed that fear she offers inspirational gems to those teetering on the brink of their dreams. “Focus on your talent and build on it; it's a large industry and there's room for everyone. There are opportunities out there, but most times you must go out and take them. And never stop believing in yourself.”
While she is yet to mount a full collection the popularity of the brand is growing. Wilson informs AWF that the responses are overwhelmingly positive and credits this to marketing, plus the rapport she has with each customer. While shifting trends do not necessarily affect the pieces she creates, Wilson believes that it is important to create a distinct 'look'. “I also love that my clients trust me to do what I want with the ideas they have in mind, and in the end my clients are pleased.”
In the next five years, Wilson hopes to have an official website, a physical store, and be a part of one of Jamaica's bands as a top costume designer. She also has her sights set on designing a section for Trinidad Carnival.
Keep a jewelled eye on Designs by Nnessa. Who knows? You might be jumping in one of her pieces next Carnival season.