WEARING a condom took on new meaning with the participation of the National Family Planning Board-Sexual and Reproductive Health Agency (NFPB-SRHA) in the just concluded Style Week 2017. With a condom challenge issued to the participating designers, thousands of attendees at the Saint International-hosted Fashion Block on Knutsford Boulevard, New Kingston, saw first-hand the creative use of the condom on Style Week's grand final night. Adjudged the winner and walking away with a cool $50,000 in prize money was designer Pebbles King, with her creation 'Condom Couture'. In second place was Simone Gordon of T&T Fashions, with 'Keeping It Irie, Keeping It Safe'.
Executive Director of the NFPB-SRHA, Dr Denise Chevannes, in explaining what prompted the sexual and reproductive health agency to get involved in the fashion show, said that their approach was five-pronged, as they wanted to highlight the condom as a preventative method, whether for family planning or against HIV/STI; to demonstrate that condoms are still fashionable, flirtatious and cool; to elicit conversations, particularly among young people, about condom use; to encourage condom use for safer sex by partners; and to raise awareness of the durability of condoms.
She further explained that using condoms in fashion designs may be new in Jamaica, but internationally the trend has already taken off. Highlighting that condoms are displayed around the world — from the Manhattan Museum of Sex (2011) to proms, fundraisers, and the catwalk, she noted that there are wide-ranging public reactions to garments made of these items. The novelty of condoms on the local catwalk saw many in the audience snapping keepsake photos, as the models strutted down the runway wearing the offbeat designs.