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BTVI fashion students to create beauty queen designs

Fashion Design students of The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) will have an opportunity of a lifetime this summer when they showcase their talents during the Miss Bahamas Organization’s (MBO) Top Model competition.

Dubbed Fashion in the Sky, the competition slated for August 8, 2015, is one of the preliminary events of the Miss Universe Bahamas and Miss World Bahamas pageants.

Each pageant contestant will be paired with a current or former BTVI student during one of the fashion show scenes.

MBO’s Director of Media Relations Jerome Sawyer said while there will be judges to find the top model among contestants, there will also be judges to find the top designs on the runway. A winner, along with first and second runners-up will be chosen.

“The fashion show will be held in an airplane hangar at the airport around a plane. Just think of the excitement it generates. Anything we do as an organization, we do big,” stressed Mr. Sawyer.

“In another five years, people will be clamoring to come to Top Model to see what BTVI will showcase. See this as an opportunity to have this on your resume. Designers, to this day, still list their affiliation with former beauty queens on their resumes,” he told students.

Mr. Sawyer first saw students’ work during BTVI’s Pre-Valentine’s Day Soiree in February when he was the master of ceremony. What he saw captivated him.

“I saw a unique opportunity. I was impressed with the level of work from BTVI’s fashion students. I thought it was a great opportunity to give them exposure to provide pieces for contestants and eventually title holders,” said Mr. Sawyer.

This is MBO’s 10th year of existence and according to Mr. Sawyer, the organization is determined to change its focus.

“In the past, we were looking for sponsorship. In this evolving world, we’re looking for partnerships. It’s a lasting partnership. In some instances, you can’t put a monetary value on partnerships,” he stated.

The winner and runners-up will each design three to four signature pieces and be paired with Miss World Bahamas, Miss Universe Bahamas or her first runner-up, Miss Earth Bahamas. Each queen will reserve one of the pieces for an international competition.

“If your gown goes to Miss Universe, Miss World or Miss Earth, do you know what bragging rights you have? And remember, they have to take a month’s worth of clothing with them. Every day, she’s out there, whether it’s an auction, tour of the city or rehearsal. Whatever she wears gets attention. We want to offer that opportunity to you,” said Mr. Sawyer.
BTVI and MBO have been affiliated before as the 2013 Miss Universe Bahamas, Lexi Wilson, received a scholarship grant to the institution. Also, Miss Universe Bahamas 2014, Tomacina Culmer is a former Auto Mechanics student at BTVI in Grand Bahama.

BTVI senior craft instructor Kathy Pinder expressed excitement over the possibilities the arrangement will bring for the institution and MBO.

“It will give students exposure. This is a way to be discovered,” she said of the mutually beneficial relationship.

BTVI 2006 Fashion Design graduate Trineil Hanna is presently working on his sketches and sees this as a wonderful prospect, stating that it’s another step to put BTVI students on the map. Meanwhile, current student, Delano Marc said the exposure would be priceless.

“I am taking the opportunity for what it is and I am honoured. I actually want to do pageant work so it allows me to shine,” said the 23-year-old.

BTVI’s Acting President Dr. Iva Dahl is thrilled at the possibilities that can emerge from the collaboration, noting that students’ confidence will grow from such an experience.

“I trust this partnership will be fruitful to the Miss Bahamas Organization and our students. It is a great opportunity for exposure for students, which they may not have gotten otherwise. We will live up to the quality you expect,” she said assuredly.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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