Spanish-flavoured `Cole Facts’ for Miami show
Lingerie collection in stores by yearend By Shawnel Cudjoe
Guyana Chronicle
April 25, 2004

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COLE Facts with a Spanish twist is what designer Michelle Cole will present to this year’s Fashion Week of Americas (FWA) scheduled for May 13-16 in Miami, Florida.

The event will be held at the Roney Palace Resort in South Beach Miami.

This is Cole’s second showing at the prestigious event. She’s the only Guyanese and one of just four Caribbean designers scheduled to be there. Her brother Joel Cole, and Jasmine Herzorg and Asha Pieters, are the models who will accompany her.

They are to rub shoulders with about 50 designers from across the globe.

Speaking with the Sunday Chronicle from her home in Akawini Street, Campbellville, Cole described her collection as “colourful with a Spanish flavour.”

She explained that her choice is based on the fact that Guyana, the only English-speaking country in South America, has seen an increase of Spanish influence here.

The entire collection of vibrant colours including green, peach and mauve are of different textures and weight, but all silk, and the clothing is accessorised with satin ribbons, wood stones and feathers, she stated.

According to Cole, the collection of shirts, pants, dresses and skirt suits all feature draw strings, low cuts and bare shoulders.

Last year’s collection presented at the FWA was a tribute to the Amerindians, since according to Cole “it was the first time, I had participated in a show of that magnitude and since they were the first people, it was fitting”.

According to Cole, this year’s line is an extension of the collection ‘Innocence Maybe’ presented last November at the Caribbean Fashion Week in Jamaica.

Cole noted that the name was apt since the clothing was all white depicting purity and innocence. However, the low cut, belly-baring outfits suggested something else.
Those outfits were accessorised with beads, shells and cotton strings.

She proudly recalled the moment when Former Miss Universe Wendy Fitzwilliam approached her backstage during the Caribbean Fashion Week in Jamaica and expressed interest in some of her designs.

With a broad smile the Guyanese designer noted that when Fitzwilliam came, she said: “I want the outfit that was on the number two model, can I try it on?”

The former queen of the Universe also purchased two pieces from the collection, Cole said.

Cole, who has been designing since the age of 11 and started making money two years later, said that by yearend, her lingerie collection will be in stores.

She said that over the years, the most difficult task faced in the marketing arena was convincing Guyanese that the clothing can be the same quality of that which is imported.

However, she said that the “people are beginning to recognise that Guyanese have talent, since quite a number of young designers are emerging and so maybe the perception is changing.”

Cole said that she finds more outside markets for her clothing. Two stores in Barbados and one each in St. Vincent and St. Lucia sell clothes under the Cole Facts label.

In Guyana, Crystal Tower Boutique is the only place that sells her clothing, but within another month, Guyana Stores Limited will have the product in their store as well, she said.

She also designed the Carib Band Costume for this year’s Mashramani and designed the outfits for the Courts Gold Rush Girls.

Fashion Week of the Americas was created to provide a forum offering international exposure and promotion specifically for the designers of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Its special interest was to establish bridges and opportunities between the designers of this region and the world's fashion industry.

It was launched in 1999 with 25 designers from 12 countries presenting their collections to 70 international media houses.