By Jasminee Sahoye
From Westmoreland, Jamaica, to Toronto, Canada, the journey for Torrence Abebe Crooks has been one of liberating creativity that manifests itself in one-of-a-kind clothing designs.
Today, Crooks who arrived in Canada at age four, is putting his creative thinking into fashion design through his label, ABEBE.
At the recent WESRO Changing Lives Fundraising Dinner at the Jamaican Canadian Association, Crooks had the audience in awe as he presented some of his creations.
He has designed for up-and-coming singer and actress Dionne Warren-Mcdonald, a soul and dance musician, creating a custom gown, a blouse, a hand-tailored jacket and a bustier.
Crooks’ interest in design started in high school, recalls his Business Manager Yolanda Julien.
“While taking a course called Fashion 101, Torrence was able to fully express and explore his creative side and found a genuine passion for the art of creation.
“This turning point opened up what became a natural talent for Torrence. He has since been designing ready-to-wear and custom pieces with an ever growing clientele base.”
Julien says Crooks’ motivation in getting involved in designing clothing is the strong sense of freedom that he experiences.
“The creative process is liberating for him and provides an outlet for his thoughts, and ideas to come to life. The fact that he is a Jamaican male has never presented itself as an obstacle for him. Torrence doesn’t believe is putting himself in a box and creating limitations.”
He also has the ability to make others feel good about themselves. He realizes that his gift gives others the opportunity to look and feel their best and express themselves in the ways that they choose.
“For Torrence and his ABEBE clothing line, the idea of freedom of expression is imperative,” Julien told The Camera.
Among his creations are one-of-a-kind custom pieces, ready-to-wear outerwear including blazers, jackets, coats, wedding gowns and bridal wear, avant-garde and haute couture menswear.
Asked what would be his message to a young man who wants to do something similar, Crooks says, “Anything is possible, nothing is impossible.”
Julien says Crooks is a strong believer in taking life’s challenges and using them to learn and grow and “this has been instrumental in his ability to rise above adversity.”
ABEBE clothing line can be found and purchased on www.etsy.ca or go to his Facebook page, ABEBE or call 647-713-0247.