The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute’s (BTVI) Fashion department recently received materials from Meredith ‘Vicky’ Johnson in the name of her late father and renowned tailor, dressmaker and Junkanoo Costume Designer, Victor ‘JuJu’ Johnson. Pictured standing from left to right are BTVI’s Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Linda Davis; JuJu’s proud daughter, Meredith ‘Vicki’ Johnson; BTVI’s Chair of Fashion Trades, Apryl Burrows and Associate Vice President of Fund Development, Alicia Thompson.
A presentation in the name of the late Victor ‘JuJu’ Johnson was recently made to the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute’s (BTVI) Fashion department. The assorted fabrics and tools donated will support the educational journey of budding tailors, dressmakers, stylists and other creatives who attend and will enroll into the institute.
JuJu himself attended BTVI while it was the Bahamas Technical College. It was here, as the only male in his class, that he honed his skills of tailoring and dressmaking. In fact, in a speech given by JuJu in 2012, he noted that the institute is where he officially started his fashion
“During high school I was encouraged to do technical drawing. I joined the Bahamas Technical College after high school to continue with drawing but didn’t finish because I couldn’t afford the books or the tools. During my classes, because of my lack of utensils I used the time to sketch shirts, jackets and fashion items. It was there that one of my teachers suggested I do design rather than technical drawing,” JuJu said.
Equipped with certificates in international drafting techniques and creative arts, JuJu was immediately hired by his lecturer, Sylvia Crawford, and worked for her for about two years sewing lingerie. Under Ms. Crawford’s supervision, JuJu also made all the jackets and skirts needed for Eastern Airlines employees.
JuJu went on to work with Mr. Hazely ‘Boogs’ Newton, whom he credits for teaching him his tailoring techniques. During this time, JuJu was sent to New York City by Mr. Newton for three months and returned with a certificate in tailoring designs. Following this achievement, JuJu started his own shop and was self-employed for 30 plus years. He even started creating Junkanoo designs in 1986.
The presentation made to BTVI also marks the achievement of JuJu’s dream of teaching long term at the institute. His BTVI teaching career lasted one week in the early 1990’s but was abruptly cut short due to reasons beyond his control.
Meredith ‘Vicki’ Johnson, JuJu’s proud daughter, presented the fashion tools to BTVI faculty and staff. Over 50 yards of fabric, tailor squares, yard sticks, hip curve rulers, workstations, workbenches, tailored sample garments and draped sample garments were well-received.
“I decided to make this donation because my dad loved teaching his skills and knew this expression of art is a great career. What better way to honour this great teacher than to help others learn?” said Ms. Johnson.
“These materials have been collected over the span of 30 years. You will find assorted colours and textures. My dad never believed anything goes out of style; he thought style evolved and everything would always come back. So, what one person would see as a dated piece of
material, his response would always be, ‘Watch when this comes back,’” she said.
Ms. Johnson thanked BTVI for allowing her father to be a part of the next generation of great tailors and dressmakers, adding that she is excited to see what creations are made with the dated materials as well as the new.
BTVI’s Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Linda Davis, Associate Vice President of Fund Development, Alicia Thompson and BTVI’s Chair of Fashion Trades, Apryl Burrows attended the presentation and thanked Ms. Johnson for including BTVI in the late Victor ‘JuJu’ Johnson’s