Designer honours late father through fashion
Known in entertainment circles for styling and clothing artistes like Vershon and Macka Diamond, rising fashionista and A'Legends designer Jenelle Thompson has fulfilled her father's dream of becoming the star of the family.
Thompson recently showcased her pieces at the recently held New York Fashion Week. For her, it was a bittersweet occasion because she would have loved if her father, Delroy Thompson, was around to see it.
Delroy, who lived and operated a business at Kencot, Kingston 10, was shot and killed by gunmen on February 27, 2014.
"That is still the saddest day of my entire life. That morning, I was abroad working at a paediatric office in Pennsylvania, USA. It was the first day on that job. I remember being frozen when I heard my dad was killed, and everyone was asking what was wrong. But I did not have the strength to tell them at that time. I fainted in the bathroom," she recounted.
"Dad was so special to me; he made me feel like I was a celebrity. He had me chauffeur-driven from airport to home whenever I visited him from Philadelphia, where I was born. And all the other children would be out in large numbers, waiting to meet and greet me, because dad would ensure I looked like a princess," she shared.
Though it was never easy, Thompson did not allow her father's death to prevent her from being a fashion designer, a passion she had since she was about eight years old.
"I would model my mom's best garbs, walking in her high-heel shoes before the wardrobe in her room. And, even when I was warned and scolded, I did the same thing as soon as her back was turned," she said.
At school, in Philadelphia, Thompson was the centre of attraction due to her fashionable attire. She is a self-taught fashion designer whose journey began in 2018 when she created her first A' Legends outfit -- a T-shirt and sweatsuit -- for artiste and producer Delly Ranx.
"From that stage, everything took off like a jet. My clothing line included A'Legends shorts, caps, slippers, handbags and children's wear. More and more entertainers were wearing my A'Legends brand - Vershon, Macka Diamond and Xyclone. I appeared on magazine covers and centre spreads, on reality shows, [as well as] local and international television, including TVJ," she said.
She has appeared in Summer Angel's 3-11. She has also hosted her fashion show, and published two books -- Keira Discovers her Talent and From my heart to Yours. She is eager to get the books, especially Keira Discovers her Talent, which she says mirrors her strides, in the hands of children.
"[I want] to get this book into our schools in Jamaica because we should help our children to have dreams, great or small, and to work hard to achieve these dreams," she said.