November 22, 2021
Apryl Burrows. That’s the new name at the helm of the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute’s (BTVI) Fashion program.
Designing professionally for the past 20 years, Ms. Burrows has a wealth of experience she brings to the department.
As the new chair of the program, Ms. Burrows revealed that she has a “long list” of things she wishes to implement but knows they will take some time.
“Nevertheless, we have hit the ground running. Not only are we changing the aesthetics of the department, I am also adding a resource lab, as well as new Art and Design programs and courses. Our department is Fashion Trades; therefore, I plan to add additional trade courses used in the fashion industry including categories like Accessory Design (bags, hats, jewelry), Textile and Surface Design, expand our Menswear offerings, Interior Design, Graphic Design for designers, Photography and Fashion Business courses,” she revealed.
Ms. Burrows said the aforementioned are some of the areas of industry which are not currently represented but are crucial to the success of a fashion business or brand. BTVI currently offers a certificate and diploma in Fashion Design.
Meanwhile, Ms. Burrows is seeking to re-implement the internship component of the program. She said she wants to build the bridge between industry and the institute.
“Working alongside businesses to offer internship opportunities for our BTVI Fashion students is so vital. Not only does it allow students to learn in real time situations, but we as an institution can train and funnel students into the industry with assurance that they are well trained and competent, ready for hire or ready to become entrepreneurs,” she stated.
An entrepreneur herself, Ms. Burrows produces under the label Apryl Jasmine, which was launched in 2002. Some of the fashionable women who have graced her designs include former Governor General, Dame Marguerite Pindling; Ambassador to CARICOM and Seabreeze Member of Parliament, Leslia Brice; the first woman elected to the House of Assembly, Dame Janet Bostwick; former Senate President, Sharon Wilson; Golden Girl and sports sensation, Eldece Clarke and several beauty queens including the reigning Miss Bahamas Universe, Chantel O’Brien.
A former student of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and Polimoda School of Design in Florence, Italy, where she studied Fashion Design and specialized in Art, Ms. Burrows has worked as a fashion designer, fashion illustrator, stylist and fashion fine artist. Known for her elegant, effortless and chic designs, Ms. Burrows noted that the Apryl Jasmine woman loves luxurious fabrics, an appropriate dose of drama and maximum elegance.
“She is a fashionable, successful, strong woman with a busy life; exposed to many cultures and has a great appreciation for fashion and high-quality products that are made in The Bahamas,” she stated.
Ms. Burrows, who became an adjunct instructor at BTVI in 2016, is looking to pass some of that talent on to her students, but admitted that she is impressed with what she has seen coming from them thus far.
“I am so proud of our students. Their tenacity is admirable, especially during the unprecedented 2020. The fact that we were able to retain students and onboard new ones, who were able to learn a hands-on trade virtually via BTVI’s virtual platform and Zoom, is a success story for both the students and the institution,” she stated.
Additionally, Ms. Burrows was always artsy and a creative even as a child; it was Brownies and Girl Guides, which gave Ms. Burrows the weekly creative outlet she needed. She explored mixed media art, embroidery and sewing during those years, but was mostly intrigued with sewing.
Ms. Burrows’ mother had a small garment making business, so sewing machines were a fixture in their home. She began using her mother’s scrap fabrics to make the most fashionable clothes for her dolls, by hand. At 12 years old, she began using the sewing machine and made clothes for herself and her sister.
“In fact, the first garments I made were a pair of pajamas and a peach Easter dress made from a taffeta fabric, which had a ‘grown up’ wrap back detail. Once I wore that dress and received so many compliments, I knew I had a special gift,” she said.
During her early teens, Ms. Burrows became inspired by the late, renowned Bahamian Fashion Designer, Jeffrey Taylor, but it was not until she interviewed for a summer job as a sewer and entered the world of fashion at Ambrosine, did she know exactly which path she wanted to take in life.
“And from that summer on, the desire never left me,” she exclaimed.
It is all this experience and exposure which Ms. Burrows intends to infuse into her students and the department as a whole.
“The talent I see from previous students and students currently in the program, gives me great hope for the fashion and garment Industry in The Bahamas,” she said.