A Passion For Fashion

09/23/2017 07:51 PM
WorldSkills Barbados News

At the age of 13, Roshida Griffith took a class in Garment Technology while at the Frederick Smith Secondary School.  She loved it so much that she decided to continue the subject in fourth form and do it at the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) level.

From that time Roshida explained that she was stitching clothes for her mum who would often say “Roshida come and stitch up this”.  Her skill in the area continued to grow and she decided to pursue the subject at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP).

While there, this normally shy student blossomed. Tutors encouraged the class to enter the WorldSkills Barbados Competition, which was open to persons, aged 16 to 21, who were enrolled in technical and vocational education and training.

After entering the preliminaries of the WorldSkills Barbados 2016, Roshida earned a place in the finals where beat out three competitors to take the gold.  As a result, she qualified to be a participant in the upcoming WorldSkills International competition, a global “skills Olympics” which will be held next month in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates.

Roshida, who sees herself as a future fashion designer, explained that she really loved stitching garments and seeing the finished product, particularly if it fitted the customer perfectly.  “I mostly like working with clothes like jackets and stuff. I can do evening wear also but I mostly like business attire. I do designs for people mostly my size, which is petite, but I can also do full figured, babies and children.  Once it comes to my mind, I would design it and sometimes I would try it to see how it comes out, but if it’s a style that is already out there in the world, I would make it,” she said confidently.

 The 19-year-old said that she entered the WorldSkills Barbados Competition “for the experience” and to better her skills.  Now that she has won the local competition, she is looking forward to the international one where she aims to win gold in the Fashion Technology category.

“I have been preparing by working on patterns, sketching and just making sure everything is perfect.  I feel confident that I can go to WorldSkills Abu Dhabi to do just as well as my competitors or better.  I don’t feel nervous, I’m not nervous at all,” Roshida said, adding that since participating in WorldSkills Barbados she had improved on stitching and understanding patterns. 

Her confidence going into the competition is, in her opinion, due in part to the commitment of staff at the TVET Council, who are the organisers of both the WorldSkills Barbados Competition and the delegation going to WorldSkills Abu Dhabi.  “The personal development workshops that TVET Council has been putting on have been helping me by teaching me how to start my business, how to gain confidence, how to talk to the media and how to socialize. The mental preparation has been great,” she commented.  

Instructor at the SJPP and skill Expert in Garment Making, Lisa Holder, shares Roshida’s confidence going into WorldSkills Abu Dhabi.  According to her, preparation for the competition was going well and Roshida had improved, not only in skills but personally.  “Since participating in WorldSkills, I’ve found that Roshida has gotten more confident as a person. She has also been able to improve her analytical skills in terms of looking at a design,” Lisa noted.

The skill Expert added that Roshida had been constantly working since June.  “We started on a series of patterns.  Touching up her patterns and constructing a series of garments....now that school has started back she is here with us at SJPP working full time on her sketching, because one of the modules is sketching.  I [also] send YouTube links to Roshida from past competitions so she can actually see how the inside of the competition is set up,” she stated.

Roshida is also receiving additional training from Rosita Hunte, a factory owner who has allowed the SJPP student to intern with her.  Lisa is of the opinion that more business owners needed to “get on board” and assist those skilled competitors going to WorldSkills Abu Dhabi. “I think industry players needed to have got on board whether they were being paid or not because this is a big deal for Barbados...yes we here at SJPP touch on every skill aspect of garment technology from pattern construction to pressing to final production but there are … certain designers out there that specialize in couture work whose expertise would really cement all that we do here at SJPP,” she said.

 WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 takes place from October 15 to 18 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.  Over 1300 competitors from 77 countries will compete in 51 skill areas.

As Roshida prepares to go for gold in this ‘skills Olympics’, Barbadians are being encouraged to show their support by following her journey to WorldSkills Abu Dhabi on the WorldSkillsBarbados Facebook and Instagram pages.  (PR/TVET Council Barbados)