Ja Crystal Powell wins Mission Catwalk Avant Garde challenge

Ja Crystal Powell wins Mission Catwalk Avant Garde challenge

Jamaican Crystal Powell wowed judges on Mission Catwalk episode eight with an avant garde, couture garment made from alternative material- old newspapers and materials from a hardware store. This is the second win for the 25 year-old who previously won the Flapper challenge on episode three.

Crystal Powell explains her creations to the judges. - PHOTO BY Tiffany Lue-Yen

For Crystal, the win was a confidence booster: “I got a chance to show the judges that I can be dramatic and over the top and very intense, moods I usually reserve for my poetry and drawings. Avant guarde is highly regarded in fashion, so for me it was a validation of my design acumen.”

Inspired by the Crusades, Crystal wanted her design to be pretty but unsettling to reflect “how something which purportedly started out with good intentions could have such devastating and ugly results. “

The garment’s top was made from newspaper with a unique amour-like stencil made by applying black spray paint over a polyflex sink protection mat. The collar and belt of the dress (made from folded newspapers spray painted in red) formed both a sword and cross. The skirt was made of cut newspaper folded into flower-like shapes, still using the same stencil pattern but this time sprayed in red. The bold and dark effect was accentuated by black flowers, lipstick and gloves. The purple feather earring and cobalt (blue) tights were used to incorporate the traditional colours of priesthood- purple, red and blue and continue the theme of the Crusades. Copper and steel wires added for further dramatic effect.

Crystal’s effort won her a feature in OCEAN Style Magazine. Guest judge and editor of OCEAN Style, Douglas Gordon thought her work was “creative, interesting, well-constructed and editorial-ready.” Equally impressed were the regular judging panel: Keneea Linton-George, host and executive producer of Mission Catwalk, Novia McDonald-Whyte Jamaica Observer Lifestyle editor and Carlton Brown, celebrated menswear designer.

Though Ryan Berkeley of Guyana did meet the challenge requirement, the episode five runner-up received the lowest score and was sent home. Of the remaining seven designers, three are Jamaican (Crystal Powell, Janel Jolly and Gregory Williams), two are from Barbados (Kesia Estwick and Kerin Scott) while Trinidad and Belize have one representative each in Ryan Chan and Rebecca Stirm. Mission Catwalk originally started with an all Jamaican cast, with season two seeing participants from five countries from around the region.

The series will climax with a grand showdown at Caribbean Fashion Week with the top three designers in June. To find out ‘Who will rule the catwalk?’, keep watching the show which airs Tuesdays at 8:30 PM on TVJ and is simultaneously streamed online at http://www.televisionjamaica.com/livetv.aspx. Episodes also repeat Thursdays at 5:30 PM. Presented by NCB, Supreme Ventures and Digicel, Mission Catwalk is now shown in six regional countries: Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Guyana and Belize.


Mission Catwalk is a fashion reality series created by Jamaican fashion designer Keneea Linton-George aimed at discovering and developing new talent. The Kingston-based show tests the creativity and skill of each contestant through various challenges. On each episode, a guest judge joins Linton-George (who also serves as host and executive producer), menswear designer Carlton Brown and Jamaica Observer Lifestyle Editor Novia MacDonald-Whyte to critique the designs and eliminate one designer. Mission Catwalk is directed and edited by Mykal Cushnie. Title sponsors are Supreme Ventures Limited (SVL), National Commercial Bank of Jamaica (NCB) and Digicel. The show airs Tuesdays at 8:30PM on Television Jamaica.

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