My Kingston — JohnEli DaCosta

Menswear Designer

Sunday, October 08, 2017

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What are your earliest memories of Kingston?

Of my mother and me walking through downtown. I'm not sure where we were going or why we were there or even how old I was. I remember my white socks and blue shorts with yellow accents. We passed a push cart and I hit my leg; it was nothing at the time but later I was told my calf was bleeding, then came the pain.

What's the most memorable meal that you have enjoyed in Kingston?

The first time I had fried calamari. If you are going to eat out, why not try something new? My family being grossed out was an added bonus!

What would you do if you were mayor of Kingston for the day?

I would focus on transforming downtown into an entertainment, leisure, learning and cultural centre, inclusive of new restaurants, galleries, bars, hotels, theatres, a healthy and safe nightlife, and pedestrian streets. I'd push to finish the main market building on Pechon Street because it should be a 'cathedral' for the public; organise the vendors; save the Ward Theatre; and relocate the buses from the city centre to an area closer to the existing market.

What would be your recommendations to a first-time visitor to Kingston?

Visit the National Gallery of Jamaica, see a play at one of the theatres, enjoy the local cuisine, and rent a car.

How do you avoid stereotypes in your approach to menswear?

I approach it from an abstract point of view. I only have two basic requirements: one, the article should cover the body, partially or fully, without falling off; and two, the wearer needs a good enough range of motion. The look can be any form or shape under the sun that is not a type of jacket or a form of pants.

Are postmodernity and upcycling an impossible union?

No, especially as I think upcycling is a form of postmodernism.

Pinpoint the most overrated garment or accessory in a man's wardrobe, then replace it with the most underrated.

Most overrated: the suit and tie. And, replace it with the RompHim! All jokes aside, it has been more than a century; there must be some other ensemble to replace the typical jacket-and-pants combo, without just a mere change in lapels or the amount of buttons or the pattern and colour of the fabric. Every red-carpet event serves the sad sameness. The standard men's wardrobe is in dire need of a revolution.

If money and accessibility were no objects, where could 3-D printing and anime fall within the JohnEli DaCosta aesthetic?

3-D printing would result in a more detailed and ethereal look. I see more accessories and ornamentation as a result. And for footwear, weird funky-looking pieces. Ahh, anime? Never thought of it.

If you were challenged to create a piece or collection inspired by the built environment, what would subsequently be unveiled?

This is an actual thought I had, so you would have to wait and see but here the element of 3D printing would also work brilliantly here.

What will Dexter '3D' Pottinger, the late fashion designer, make-up artist, and fashion- and hairstylist's legacy be?

His legacy will be his body of work and ideas and the people whom his light and life touched. It is on us to carry on his legacy, be it through gallery exhibitions, autobiographies and photo books, so that future Jamaican creatives may be inspired to strive for such creative excellence.

A 'brave' use of colour looks like...

Dyeing your hair a primary or secondary colour or an ombre of both.




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