New Carnival Designers Emerge from Xaymaca International’s Inaugural Design Competition


November 18, 2019

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New local designers have emerged as finalists of Xaymaca International’s Inaugural Costume Design Competition. These designers were selected from over 100 submissions. The finalists were chosen based on the likes they garnered on Instagram via the Xaymaca International page and the judges’ critique.

Upon being chosen as finalists, Francine Watt, who received the most votes for her initial design on Instagram, Melissa-Kim Dunkley, Shanique McPhail, Jessica Hewitt-Haynes, and the team of Anisa Cole and Ryan McDonald, had to create an original costume design that was different from the sketch submitted. They all received the same resources, in the same quantities, and were given two weeks to produce the entire costume, inclusive of decorated bodywear and a feathered backpack.

As part of the competition, all finalists had to participate in a carnival design workshop which introduced them to the techniques of constructing their prototypes. “This was an important aspect of the competition for us,” said Band Leader Andrew Bellamy. “Our aim is to grow the carnival industry, not only by increasing the number of masqueraders on the road, but by using our resources to advance the skillset of our local designers to be able to produce our costumes locally.”


The workshop was facilitated by Anna Guthrie, a young designer, who started out with Xaymaca International two years ago, and now designs regionally and seasoned carnival costume designer, Jodi ‘Jinx’ Henriques.

Jodi ‘Jinx’ Henriques shared her expertise with the young designers.

Wire bending and creating a feathered backpack were the elements of the production process that seemed to cause the most anxiety for the finalists. However, they were assisted by two local members of the Xayamaca production team who have been trained through the Xaymaca International Mas Makers Training Programme over the past three years. All finalists have noted that though the grand prize of US$1,000, having their costume showcased as part of the 2020 presentation and being a Xaymaca Ambassador are great incentives; seeing their costume come to life has been their most memorable experience.

Continue to watch as the design and production process unfolds on the Xaymaca Instagram page this week as the costumes will be critiqued and the winner of the competition revealed in time for the 2020 costume presentation – on Friday, November 29 at the National Indoor Sports Centre.




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