By Gabriella Chapman
THE name Randy Madray has much weight in the fashion world. In fact, for years, it has been ringing in the ears of pageant girls, fashion gurus, and persons within the creative arts industry, as the “winning designer”.
Randy Madray is a young fashion guru who has made his name not only in the local industry, but worked his way to regional and international fame.
Notwithstanding the above, the local fashion industry has been growing over the years, with many young people stepping out with new and unique pieces as their form of contribution to art and the industry.
However, Madray is one who we believe needs to be commended for his commitment, consistency, and multiple contributions to putting Guyana’s name further than local.
In a sit-down with the young creative, he told his story of how this all started for him.
In his younger days, Madray said he always felt that for someone to become something, it would either have to be a doctor or a lawyer, but then after falling in love with pageantry and dresses, he realised while in First Form of high school that a Designer was what he wanted to be.
“It’s kind of surreal now, but growing up as a child, I was always a ‘book-worm’; I was always good in academics. And I went from West Ruimveldt to Queens College. We had a one-bedroom house, and everybody had to sleep in that one room. We didn’t come from a family who had everything, but we would always look at Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Universe Guyana whenever they show it,” he said. “We never missed the shows, so I was always excited about the evening gowns and the costumes and those sorts of things. And I think I fell in love with that. I wasn’t sure then, because you know that going to Queen’s College, there’s this stereotype that you need to be this body and that body. But later on, after being exposed to art, because QC is very big on art being compulsory, I decided that this is what I want.”
In 2009, when he was just 16 years old, Madray made his debut on the fashion scene. He represented his school in a competition called Fashion, Arts & Creativity by Talented Students (FACTS), which was the brainchild of Michelle Cole, the late Trevor Rose, and Natasha Martindale, and he won the competition. That’s where his career started as a local designer.
By 2014, Madray had already made his name as a prominent Guyanese designer, and the business and his career were progressing. That same year, however, he said he challenged himself when he was asked to design for Alicia Bess, who was going to represent Guyana at a regional pageant in Sint Maarten named PJD2. Bess, he said, wanted a neon green dress that he wasn’t confident about, but challenged himself and created a piece to please his client. And it all came together in the end.
Alicia Bess won the pageant and got the prize for Best Gown. This, he said, was his first regional pageant, and a first for his “Best Gown” reputation.
“And after that pageant, then came St. Kitts; I was designing for the queen. And that year, everything just started to flow. We had Anguilla, and everything started to roll and roll. And over the years, everything became habitual. And then, eventually, we went regional,” Madray said.
LOVE OF PAGEANTRY
Even though he is widely known for designing for pageant queens, the young creative said that he is pretty much versatile in every form of fashion, but pageantry is at the top of the charts for him.
“I absolutely love pageantry. And one thing a lot of people don’t know is that I have a team, and we have been working for quite some time, where we have been working with girls to go beyond creating outfits for them, to the point of coaching and grooming and ensuring that they are ready for pageants. And that shows my love for pageantry. I think my true love came from the fact that we can have a beauty ambassador that represents Guyana; that goes with the idea of fashion, which is something I like,” Madray told The Buzz.
In fact, he said that since his brand has gone regional, over 100 queens were crowned in a Randy Madray piece, and he is working on putting together everything to present his wins to the public.
Though it may seem like it has been raining gold and diamonds for Madray all the time, he said that there are many challenges in the industry, but perseverance is key. A lot of setbacks were necessary in order for him to grow.
“The most important thing I’ve learnt from the industry is to remain humble, but at the same time know your worth… And I would always say you are your competition. To remain relevant, you have to understand that you cannot sit and look at somebody else’s work and say, Okay I’m going to do one that is better than this,” he said. “For me, I know what I’m capable of, and I know that I do my research. And I don’t work unless I’m inspired; and that is important. If you work uninspired as an artist, and fashion is a form of art, it means that your job is not genuine. You’re pretty much doing it for more selfish reasons. When, in fact, the true reason should be the pleasure of loving art. And so, I can’t work if I’m not inspired. So every piece I have created are my inspirations,” Madray said.
What is also notable about his career is that Madray uses his skills to bring to life many things from Guyana’s culture. He said that he is passionate about Guyana’s folklore, and when allowed to design for a local queen to represent on the international stage, he ensures that unique things about Guyana are placed to the forefront.
Just last year, he designed for Miss Earth Guyana, Xamiera Kippins, and her National Costume was the Ole Higue. Kippins won the Gold Medal at the international pageant for Madray’s Ole Higue creation. This piece, he noted, is his favourite creation to date.
There are many more things that can be said about Madray, but he stressed the importance of remaining humble and focused on developing your craft.
Staying true to that belief, he said to expect a lot more wins coming from his brand, and expect to see him dabbling in pretty much every form of art. In fact, he will be designing a line for Guyana Carnival 2020’s Genesis Band, and some of his pieces will be launched on Sunday, and at the launch party at MovieTowne.