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Theophilio took us on a trip to Jamaica for NYFW

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Photo-Illustration: The Cup. Photos: Andrea Sabugo

I want everyone to feel like Wow, I’ve been to Jamaica to New York, said Edvin Thompson of Theophilio, who presented his first runway collection at New York Fashion Week last weekend. Thompson, a 2021 CFDA / Vogue Fashion Fund finalist, aimed to celebrate his Jamaican heritage. After the pandemic halted travel to the islands’ lush beaches, a collection called Air Jamaica did just that.

I remind us what it really means to stand up for and celebrate ourselves even through an opponent, Thompson said backstage after the show, amid a scene of chaos and excitement.

The front row included other notable black designers, including Kerby Jean-Raymond and Brandon Blackwood, and stylist Law Roach. The room was an oasis of red from the runway carpet to the curtains to the chairs. Red is not only a color in the Rastafarian flag, but also one of Edvin’s favorite colors at the moment. The energy erupted as soon as the first models made their way onto the track.

2022 will be the year of red, he told the Cut. After the year that we have had and that we are still going through, [the color] shows us facing our adversaries.

Photo: Andrea Sabugo

Clothing reflected Jamaican culture: vibrant monochrome unisex ensembles; a sheer catsuit with an open back and a thong look, topped with a Theophilo logo (which stole the show); fitted dresses adorned with the colors of the Rastafarian flag; and oversized structured denim.

Photo: Rommel Demano / BFA.com

Playing with bright colors in clothing is a cliché as a gay black designer, he said, but its use reinforces his commitment to Jamaica. My community and my culture are vibrant and colorful, he said. He also likes to play with silhouettes, hence the oversized denim. Denim loves me and I love denim, as you can see.

The models had long horns pulled back with the colors of the Rastafarian flag woven through them, sleek finger waves and long, shiny fingernails, some covered in Theophilo rhinestone charms, the ultimate ode to Jamaican heritage. One model was even adorned with a living snake.

Thompson said: When we just styled and made up the girls without even dressing them, they were already transformed.

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