AS IF their fast times and historic moments in athletics weren’t enough, Jamaican athletes continue to attract interest in the sport with their fashion statements.
Fashion designer Denise Katz describes them as “edgy and edgy”.
“Jamaican athletes have a bold and edgy fashion sense,” said Katz.
“We are always eager to see what the latest ‘look’ will be as we know it will be amazing and exciting, we are never disappointed. This adds pizzazz and creates excitement. Our athletes have fantastic showmanship.”
Katz, who created the swimsuit worn by former Miss World Lisa Hanna in 1993, said several Jamaicans have mastered the art of blending athletics with fashion, but she has a few favorites.
“Top on my list are Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson Herah, Sheree Francis, Anastasia LeRoy and Yanique Levy. I can’t leave out Asafa Powell, who is quite the athletic gentleman in fashion,” she said.
The former Royal Palm Estate actor said Jamaica’s willingness to stand out on any platform must be credited for the creative fashion choices of Jamaicans on and off the runway.
“Jamaican athletes have a strong sense of purpose and creativity, and this is reflected in many cases in their choice of fashion; always making a statement from the moment they step foot on the track. Standing above everyone else, with your own unique look, that’s not to be missed,” Katz said.
She said that these current fashion statements by Jamaican athletes are an inspiration to younger athletes.
“I am sure that our younger athletes are inspired not only by the world records our athletes have set, but also by seeing our athletes in their own distinctive fashion style. Feeling good about yourself gives you the confidence to reach even greater heights,” he said.
She said this would also help them secure endorsement deals with sports and fashion companies like Nike and PUMA.
Katz said Jamaicans aren’t just making bold fashion statements in athletics. She designed the Jamaica ‘Victory’ Olympic suit for the Jamaican bobsled team, inspired by the island’s 60th year of independence.
“It was a pleasure to have worked together with PUMA on the Jamaican bobsled team outfits for the Winter Olympics in China recently,” he said. “
He said he would love to work with PUMA again on apparel for Jamaican athletes, not only for winter sports, but also for athletics.
“It would be a great honor to design and make outfits for track and field athletes,” Katz said.
“I would really like to have that opportunity and am really looking forward to it as I have quite a few design sketches that have been inspired by watching our athletes perform. I am very proud to be Jamaican and with fashion design as my life’s work and passion, I continue to make my contribution.”