SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE: Shoppers and exhibitors mixed and mingled inside the Worthington all weekend long.
Let’s just get this out of the way: the exquisite, exotic fare on offer at the MoDA Market is unbearable. Upon entering the gorgeously decked-out exhibition space inside the Spanish Court Hotel’s Worthington venue, your eyes come to rest on tables and booths showcasing items as luxuriant as they are visually arresting. Any first-time patron totally understands by the concepts of fashion, art and lifestyle have been aligned with the label from the get-go. What we witness is a perfect amalgamation of all three.
Here is Reve Jewelry wooing folks with their shiny wearable art, while a few feet away, Susanna Fredericks is curating a brilliant mini exhibit of paintings and sculptures. There is cool kid Ayanna Dixon seated at her booth, offering an appealing mix of items (cute neon dresses, notebooks, mugs, fashionable sketches) all bearing her ASD brand name.
Her neighbor Kaye Kerry, a sweet old lady evidently blessed with a green thumb, shows off her horticultural innovations. “I like to make old things new again. So I take things that have been discarded and repurpose them with my plants,” she tells TALLAWAH, beaming. A glimpse at her business card reveals her skill as “upcycling” – fusing old and discarded stuff with beautiful ideas, thereby “adding new life to the old and unwanted.”
Elsewhere, you find design houses like Courtney Washington and Drenna Luna tending to customers; makeup artists at work; a beauty bar full of sweet-smelling Italian and local-made soaps; pottery and no shortage of craft items and wares that scream creativity. For the kids, Island Strokes has mounted a DIY painting area; for the serious art lover, Craig Phang Sang’s stunning black-and-white photographs are to die for. And the list goes on and on.
Whether in conversation with Michellae Walker, the proprietor behind the supercool Crochet Eye Candy line of sandals and accessories, or discerning buyers like Thalia Lyn, the consensus is overwhelming: MoDA is magical and MoDA matters. “It’s a great place to get your brand recognized. I like how it’s open and there’s a wide cross-section of items on sale,” Walker shares. “In Jamaica, you can’t get everything in one place, so it’s good to have events like these that bring buyers and sellers together.”
Both Dixon and Kelly couldn’t agree more. “I love the exposure that it affords me,” says Kelly, a first-time exhibitor. “I love to showcase my work and at an event like this you get to meet and interact with new people and other artists from different places. The networking and the energy is wonderful. It motivates me.”
And they all have one woman to thank. Five years later, MoDA founder and series director Kerry-Ann Clarke will be the first to tell you that the chance to do the event year after year with her hardworking team, and witness the evolution, is beyond thrilling. “To see the growth and development has been exciting. And to see the patrons and exhibitors coming together is exciting,” Clarke says. “We work so hard to make it a success, and we try to give everybody the same amount of space and guidance and encouragement.”
If Clarke has her way, a few years from now, MoDA could expand beyond the shores of Jamaica. “The goal is to take it to a bigger platform,” she says, sharing the vision. “Not just for local patrons and exhibitors but for the whole CARICOM region.”