Costume Designer / Fashion Designer / Stylist, I Style Inc., Brampton, ON / California. Born: Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Antoinette Messam was born in Jamaica to a family immersed in the creation of clothing. Her mother was a dressmaker who specialized in bridal, her grandfather was an established tailor. She was destined to be involved in the design of clothing.
Antoinette graduated from the Academy of Design & Merchandising in Toronto specializing in textiles, which led to a post in Asia designing fabric for bridal shoes. She aptly titles herself “a woman of the cloth” summing up her diverse roles as fashion designer, fashion stylist, and costume designer. Her energy has enabled her to build a strong line of film credits, develop the innovative clothing line, I Style and maintain her position in the fashion and music worlds as a stylist. Her pursuit of excellence is best exemplified in the following projects: Redemption, starring Jamie Foxx; Jewel, starring Farrah Fawcett; the Emmy-nominated Common Ground, starring Cicely Tyson; and Ruby’s Bucket of Blood starring Academy Award® Nominee Angela Bassett. Her work will soon be featured in the upcoming film, Love, Wedding, Marriage which stars Mandy Moore, Jane Seymour and James Brolin.
Through her contemporary work on films such as the indie hit, Lie with Me and Orphan for Warner Bros, Antoinette has kept abreast of the latest trends in fashion from street to couture. She thrives on being creative and along with her fashion line, film & television work, she is a fashion stylist for brands Bacardi Rum, Miller Beer, Ford Canada, among others. Her unique relationship with EMI Music Canada enables her to create an individualized and specific look for their musicians that can be used in all aspects of marketing and advertising. She continues to excel in all areas of design and fashion but says her love has always been conjuring character through clothes, not wearing them on the big screen.
Other: Antoinette costume designed for MTV’s first television show, Catwalk (1993), has worked as a television host, and in her spare time actively volunteers mentoring young people on the benefits and rewards of a career in fashion and film. As an in-demand guest speaker, she has lectured and been a panelist at various colleges and universities, reaching young and up-and-coming fashionistas.
Favourite book? This is a hard one… I’m an avid reader and my favourites shift with my state of mind. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston – love, love, love, that book and was so happy when a friend shared their copy with me. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho has also moved me and is at the top of the list. On a commercial level, I enjoyed Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner and am now reading his latest novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns.
Favourite quotes? 1) “The ability to love yourself no matter what mistake or wrong choice you think you have made is the key to peace.” 2) “The time is always right to do what is right.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Given the chance, what would you love to do that you haven’t done yet? As a creative film department head, I am not always in control of the product and sometimes have very little input. I would love to produce my own film one day. Traveling down the Grenadines on a boat with friends and family… Traveling through out Europe with a fellow fashionista… Seeing Africa through my artist eyes and touching and tasting as an African-Jamaican-Canadian.
Who or what inspires you? I am inspired by the littlest things, a flower, a book, a painting…a song. My friends, family and most importantly, my son inspire me to be the best I can be.
Why do you do what you do? I love the feel of cloth, I get excited at a weave that is interesting. I wish I could own everything that I find beautiful, so instead I do work that enables me to create. Seeing the fruition of a thought to the end product on-screen is like being a child in a candy store. It makes me happy.