A Fashion Explosion of Montserrat’s Madras

Iris Lake captures William O'Brien in his madras inspired masquerade outfit during the St Patrick's Day parade.
Iris Lake captures William O’Brien in his madras inspired masquerade outfit during the St Patrick’s Day parade.

A very noteworthy reflection of last month’s St Patrick’s Festival was the use of the national madras, not only in the traditional styles but very modern looks as accessories, clothing and even footwear.

We’ve shared before the Origin’s of Montserrat’s National Dress and you can read that here.

However, we celebrate the many groups who took the initiative to use the madras as the basis for inspiring others to find creative uses for the fabric.

The Afro Madras Fashion Explosion which was held on March 12, showcased quite a few ready to wear pieces which were later worn on Heritage Day. Coordinator Molly Wint used the event to raise funds for the Girls Education Project.

Wint, who lives in New York said the increased use of the madras she believes is due to many Montserratians abroad who are feeling “more patriotic. Many people here in New York have asked me to purchase fabric so they can make outfits and the versitility of use is endless. The trend will definitely continue.”

Wint described the madras print as pretty adding that she uses it to decorate tables for a tea party.

Delon Searls shows off her evening gown inspired by the Montserrat Madras.
Delon Searls shows off her evening gown inspired by the Montserrat Madras.

The Montserrat Arts Council hosted Madrastique during the festival as well. Director of MAC, Chadd Cumberbatch said he welcomed the increase use of the madras, not only for this year’s St. Patrick’s week but what it means for the the culture.

“It’s our madras…the “Montserrat” madras and wearing it is an affirmation of identity..a rebel scream that even Cudjoe could appreciate. Nationals and non nationals alike, regardless of colour stood in solidarity with Montserrat and that was beautiful.

“This year more than ever we heard from a creative sector that does not often get the opportunity to be featured in such a way and it was encouraging to see the talent of our people expressed in fashion. Full props must be given to the organizations and individuals who created and participated in some of the activities and events created to embrace our National madras.

And also to those who come out every year with their own unique madras expression.

Cumberbatch, who created costumes for Madrastique featuring the national fabric, added that he hopes the current trend will spin off into “more events and displays of the work of our designers beyond the St. Patrick’s Festival.”

With the displays we have seen in the diverse use of our national fabric it would be interesting to see it used beyond the St. Patrick’s week of events.

Enjoy this gallery of photos from Molly Wint’s collection of how she uses the fabric, the charity fashion show (Jafari Galloway photography) and friends who wore it at the St. Patrick’s Day parade.

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In featured image – The Osbornes use the fabric for their outfits to attend the national St Patrick’s Festival service at the Catholic Church. (Nerissa Golden Photo for Discover Montserrat)