Written by Kaylyn Bodden

From Hobby to Business: Danielle Watler

Danielle Watler

Danielle Watler is a Jamaican born fashion designer, model, actress, entrepreneur and businesswoman living in Grand Cayman. Danielle is the founder and owner of Out of the Blu, a local marketing company. Lately, Danielle has began to achieve creative goals in her life, such as designing carnival costumes for Jamaica and Cayman carnival. Danielle shares what its like to have her dream come true.

How long have you been designing clothes?
I have been designing clothes since my early teens. My mom and I would work together to create one of a kind statement outfits for any occasion. I even designed my own line of “Danzi” sling purses in Jamaica. I needed to do a bit more living, learning and earning, so I put it to rest, but who knows, maybe one day I will pick it up again.

Do you draw? How do you do your designs? 
I am an abstract artist and I have to tell you I am terrible at drawing out my designs. I lay out all the materials in front of me; it’s like a jig saw puzzle to me. I have so much fun playing with patterns.

Do you sew? 
Sadly no.

When did your dream become a reality? 
When my childhood friend pushed me to do a prototype design for Jamaica Carnival and I came across so many obstacles.  She kept reminding me “nothing good ever comes easy” and when one door closed, another seemed to open. I was determined to see it through. Returning to my home country and walking the Bacchanal Jamaica stage modelling my own design was a surreal moment for me.

Where do you get your inspiration from? 
I spend time researching designs, patterns, accessories, past costumes, cultures etc.  Sometimes it may even stem from my mood at a particular moment or a message I want to portray.

How many carnival costumes are you designing this year? 
I designed seven in total. One for Bacchanal Jamaica under Frenchmen, titled “Eclipse” and six with Renegade Mas for Cayman: four styles for Batabano, titled “Can’t be Caged” and two for our sponsor Ryde Cayman for Caymas Carnival, titled “Ryde Di Riddim” and “Tun Up Di Riddim”.

What is your goal for creating these costumes? 
My hope is to inspire and empower the women who wear them. I have been holding back my creative talents for years, including my poetry, which has always been the one that scared me the most to expose. This year, I have found a way to combine both. You can put a design on a beautiful model and it comes to life, but putting a bit more heart behind it, that’s when it stands for something much greater. I have written poems for my designs that I revealed at the launch of both events. I want women to feel confident not only wearing the costumes, but understanding the messages behind them.


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