For many, the moment one hears the name Marley, it immediately conjures up images of elbow room only venues filled with swaying bodies and conscious lyrics doled out by a visionary in midst of becoming an icon. But Bob’s eldest offspring, Cedella Marley, is not only committed to protecting the legacy of her father but leaving one of her own. Recently conquering a new arena by adding the title of fashion designer to her ever-growing list of accomplishments, Cedella has established herself as formidable presence in the world of fashion with the launch of the clothing and accessories line, Catch A Fire, and her online store Catchafireclothing.com. By channeling the denim and leather, peace and love T-shirt state of mind of the seventies, then adding her own modern but edgy twist, she has offered women a casually sexy line of one a kind vintage inspired creations that have become a hit among some of Hollywood and music industry A-listers. Cedella’s pieces have been so well received, they are routinely spotlighted in some of the world’s top fashion magazines, from Celebrity Living, Lucky and Elle Girl, to Trace, City and Essence. It is more than apparent that this Marley is blazing her own trail and in turn, leaving an indelible mark on the world of fashion. Not long ago the Native Dawta agreed to take some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few quick questions.
TC: Ms. Marley, you have been a part of a Grammy winning group, you are an accomplished dancer, painter, director, and Chief Executive Officer of Tuff Gong International. What made you decide to segue into the fashion industry?
CM: I had some time off and it was something that I really wanted to do so the timing was perfect.
TC: Your design technique is clearly heavily influenced by the style of your father. When did you first discover your love of vintage clothing?
CM: It’s influenced by both parents actually. We had clothes that was handed down from my mother or the Roulettes. We would just cut 1 dress and make 2.
TC: Besides you design philosophy, what distinguishes you and Catch A Fire from other clothing companies?
CM: I really believe “don’t be apart of the trend, instead -make them.” I play it in mixing colors / fabrics.
TC: I’ve had to opportunity to converse with many Jamaican artists from various genres and the common refrain was the difficulty in parlaying their popular success into financial success. What are some of the challenges you faced as an artist from the Caribbean, if any?
CM: Working hard is never a challenge, having people respect your capabilities is another. I have a low key life. I save more than I spend. For every 20 cents spent put away 80 cents.
TC: Your clothing has been displayed in some of the world’s top fashion magazines, and has been seen on celebrities from Gwen Steffani to Eve. What do you think attributes to the overall appeal of your clothing line?
CM: (I think it’s because I offer)…something different.
TC: How do you balance the demands of family life with the demands of your workload?
CM: There is no balance. I truly try everyday to have time for everyone and everything.
TC: What advice do you have for other young designers from Jamaica hoping to make that breakthrough into the global market?
CM: Don’t stop trying.
TC: Where do you see you and Catch A Fire in ten years?
CM: Home furnishing, children, toys. You think it, I’ll be doing it.
TC: What legacy would you like to leave the world of fashion?
CM: Don’t be afraid of change and taking chances.
TC: Just out of curiosity, who or what do you have in your closet?
CM: Some T-shirts and lots of denim.
TC: People see your life and think that you are living a dream. What are some of the drawbacks to being raised in the public eye?
CM: Being raised in the public eye you are judged and never able to defend.
TC: I would be remiss if I didn’t ask for your views on the current state of the music industry and the call by many factions for the need to address issues concerning morality as it pertains to lyrical content. Would you care to share your views?
CM: As a musician I believe you should have the right to express yourself. Freedom. The music industry is a business and we have to be realistic. Your music doesn’t have to be good anymore you just have to be good looking.
TC: People have expressed various points of view concerning the issue of moving your father from Jamaica to Africa. Would you like to share your opinion on the subject?
CM: He is already where he wants to be. We haven’t spoken in a while.
About the Interviewer
T. Callum Aka Honeychile, ‘Agent Provocatuer’: “In everyone’s life there are moments of major upheaval, events that are so profound that they cause you to stop and evalute your true purpose in life…..” That was this new author’s response when asked recently about why she gave up her job as a buyer for a major pharmaceutical company in New Jersey to relocate to her hideway on the Gulf Coast of Florida. The budding phenom was discovered writing an e-soap opera for another website in order to pass the time while on maternity leave. When the story caught on like wildfire and the requests for more material camepouring in, Toni decided not to return to the rat race of the nine to five and pursue her love of writing. Currently, working on her first book, ‘More Than Woman: The Story of Jade’ , Toni is also currently in talks with a major movie house to pen the screenplay loosely based on her book.