Stylish Entrepreneur Kerry-Ann Clarke

By :- Janette Brin

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By: Sherina Russell-Garcia

 

The quintessence of fashion and style is often defined in the City of Lights, the City of Love Paris France.

Simple sophistication in living and being is something that Parisians cherish and protect for generations to come.

The world’s most romantic place is where Kerry Ann Clarke proprietor of one of Jamaica’s chic fashion boutiques, believes her soul in another life was born.

In a recent animated interview with Caribbean POSH Clarke said: “I often joke about Paris to my family and friends and say that I was really born there, but was reincarnated in Jamaica. Paris is my absolute favourite place…the charm and character of the city, the scenery, fashion, food, art, the people, the language and the culture.”

 Like a caterpillar nurtured in a great historical cocoon, Clarke credits her rich cultural experience in Paris as a student and intern at the holy grail of fashion VOGUE magazine for the ultimate joy and passion she relishes in her one-of-a kind concept store KERRY man woman home in Kingston Jamaica.

Basically a social butterfly, Clarke has a natural love for life and people which anyone entering her store picks up on quickly. She easily draws to her those who wish to express effortlessly an innate appreciation for epicurean clothing and home accents.

“I am forever grateful to have had the opportunity to live and study there for five years. I studied at Parsons School of Design and graduated with a degree in Design Marketing, interned at VOGUE, attended numerous couture fashion shows and lived my dream the entire time.

I think the experience gave me a wide appreciation of the fashion industry, the luxury market, while opening my mind to a lot of things including learning the language, meeting people from many different countries and travelling extensively in Europe” Clarke said.

“Our experiences in life shape the way we view things. The fashion industry is a major industry, and living in Paris and being fully emerged in it while I lived there, enabled me to grasp the many different components within the industry from runway to retail and everything in-between. 

 As such, my experiences influence how I approach doing business at home” she added.

“The concept for my store was born eleven years ago. I saw an opportunity to do something I would enjoy while filling a void that existed in the market. My customers enjoy the KERRYmanwomanhome experience-the retail space is always changing and always evolving. I take pride in hand-selecting the offerings and the great thing about it is that it is all lifestyle…not just clothing and accessories…but home and gift items.”

Keeping the style connection fresh and fabulous, Clarke’s store always revolves with frequent contact with the latest Caribbean and international designers.

Pointing to the boundless opportunities for the industry, she said her store whose mantra is “your wish is our command” has various collaborative efforts with designers and believes success is built on making customers feel beautiful and satisfied.

 Maintaining an eye on the full potential development of the fashion industry Clarke stressed: “it is not just about having the boutique, but hosting the Collection Moda, an annual event in Jamaica showcasing emerging designers from the region, and allowing retailers and wholesalers to not only view collections on the runway, but also shop the collections at the MoDA market.”

 From age ten, a young stylish Kerry was setting the stage for a life of entrepreneurship encouraged by the positive feedback to her efforts.

“I am motivated by a constant desire to grow and learn new things. I have had an enthusiasm for new places and various challenges ever since I was a child, and I think this outlook causes me to be very self -motivated. I am not at peace with myself unless I know I am working at my full potential.

“I have always had a keen interest in fashion. Growing up, I would always play around with dolls, make t-shirts, hair accessories, uniforms for the cheerleaders in high school, you name it. Once it involved creating …whether with glue, pins, sewing, I was using my spare time to create….and then of course to sell the creations to my friends! I knew that I wanted to be in the fashion industry at age 10” Clarke confessed.

Never one to be affected by obstacles she strongly believes that: “every problem has a solution…it is just to find the solution. With that in mind, every hurdle is but a hiccup, and possibility for another opportunity.”

Her business advice to women is: “find what it is that you have a passion for, and go for it. Once you are passionate about your dream, living it becomes easy. Don’t give up.”

Of course, the interview would not be complete without some useful fashion tips from one of Jamaica’s most memorable beauty queens in the Miss Jamaica (World) Contest, who defines her own style as classic, comfortable and slightly Bohemian.

“Never become obsessed with being trendy. Know your body, what flatters you, and what makes you feel good, and the most important finish to any outfit is confidence and a smile. When evaluating your wardrobe, always start with the basics and then add the trendy pieces…mix and match and don’t be afraid of colours and prints.

A true Island girl with a French soul, Clarke is in love with the Caribbean’s more relaxed easy, comfortable, chic and colourful style and knows what a pair of sunglasses and statement hat can do to give one instant access to the magical kingdom of style expression.

    

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