About a month ago I met Jerel Langaigne. We met in April, 2018, at a Seminar for persons interested in photographers; I was introduced to Jerel by a very good friend and sister in Christ, Genel Forteau. Genel had told me about this Christian young lady who was into fashion and I anticipated meeting her.
I always wanted to hear more about her, to hear her story, especially because fashion and models have really been sold in a manner that glorifies the bodies of the models, the sexy garments they display on the runway, and the designing and construction skills of many creative designers out there. I saw it as an Industry, like all other industries focused on gaining recognition and business opportunities. I wanted to find out more about her perspective on fashion and the role to be played by Christians within this industry.
I have had my own dreams (and still do) of somehow impacting the world through fashion because, I love designing.
Jerel Langaigne grew up in a Christian Family, she attended the St. Joseph Convent in Grenada, one of our Prominent Secondary Schools. Jerel was desirous of becoming an Architect; her dream was to travel to Cuba to study Architecture. Cuba, because she would then get the opportunity to be bilingual. She felt confident this was God’s will for her life and waited, with high expectation, for it to materialize. Well, it didn’t, her scholarship application was turned down.
While waiting for answers and still seeking God’s will, Jerel began teaching. It later became paramount that she become qualified as a teacher, hence her quest again to obtain a scholarship. Her story takes an interesting, mind boggling turn; Jerel received a scholarship but not for Teaching but for Fashion Designing, she was told, this is the area available. Her question was, “Lord, why Fashion Design?”.
In our journey through life, there are those moments when all we could do is trust God’s leading. You see, as he leads, we are often taken through a maze that makes very little sense to us and all we could do is draw closer to God praying for a word soon, for the revelation.
Jerel held on to God’s unchanging promises and waited for him to reveal his plan for her. She successfully completed her degree graduating with great distinction (Magna Cum Laude), from the University of Trinidad & Tobago – Caribbean Academy of Fashion and Design. You can get a taste of what I am speaking of by checking out her awesome thesis collection on YouTube; you can see the application of Fabric surface treatment on most, if not all of her pieces. Jerel speaks of her financial limitations that restricted her spending and how blessed she was to have learned how to treat fabrics (tie-dying) She was able to take one basic colour fabric and transform them into beautiful fabric. I enjoyed every bit of the video, pressing “replay” more than once.
Here is the link; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VFcc0InMQA
Jerel speaks of countless challenges while studying in Trinidad and is grateful today, for each one. After listening to her story, I am convinced that her journey was personally designed by God and her success at the University confirmed that he was there all along. Jerel (with a capable team) was able to pull off the first ever “Totally Local Grenada Fashion Week”.
The journey to Fashion Week began in 2017. The Fashion Week was held from July 7th – 14th, 2018. I really wanted to be there to experience the display of our local talent, but my work and family schedules made it difficult. However, owing to the Facebook connection, I was able to follow to an extent.
The Fashion Week started with a Beauty Conference organized by M.E. Salon and Virtue School of Beauty, Grenada, who partnered with Grenada Fashion Week.
The Beauty Conference was held at the Salon and offered the opportunity to learn more about;
- Natural Hair Care
- Make up Artistry
- Manicures and Pedicures
- Nail Technology
- Massage Therapy
A key aspect of the Conference was an Empowerment Session; the presenter was Genel Forteau, Director of Virtue School of Beauty. I couldn’t be there in person, but I was able to listen to the live video later. Genel’s empowerment session was truly empowering! Feel free to check it out here; https://www.facebook.com/virtuoushine/videos/10156291053620170/UzpfSTM0MzU4Mzk3Mjc3Mzk1MDo0NTc1NjI5NjEzNzYwNTA/
Extracts from Genel’s empowerment session;
“Sin came to take man away from God’s glory. What does that have to do with purpose? Everything! Our purpose is locked up in understanding God’s glory and yielding to God’s glory”.
This statement struck me deep; it was the statement of essence and it summed up the point of the entire presentation, pretty much!
The Bible reference given was;
Matthew 6:33 King James Version (KJV)
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”.
Another of Genel’s quotes:
“When it comes to our purpose project, when it comes to our destiny, it is all in the Creator”! I just love this.
Following the Conference, three Fashion Shows were held, the first in St Mark’s, on July 11th, the Second in the Parish of St. Andrew’s on July 12th and the final one in the Capital, St. George. As I looked at the designs, I was truly inspired to see the great attempts made by our young and thriving designers. Something Grenada can be proud about.
I asked Jerel, “As someone working in the field of Fashion, how do you manage the conflict, being involved in the Fashion Industry and being a Christian?” I loved her response “By Ministering to them.” She further explained that what is important is that you openly share your faith and do not compromise on your Godly standards. She reminded me that Jesus dwelt among sinners, so he can reach them. The idea is to infiltrate to influence; not becoming like them but remaining uncontaminated, so that our Father can be glorified.
The curtain came down on the last day with a reward and recognition ceremony.
I pray that Jerel is successful in drawing others to Christ as she seeks to be salt and light in the Fashion Industry. I may not understand everything about the “how” and it is not my duty to. What I am, is filled with anticipation, to see how God would use her in such a time as this.
I look forward to “Grenada Fashion Week 2019”