Seamstress, sewing, Storefront, jamaica

A Piece Of Home: Jamaican Seamstress To Open Storefront In Avon Park, Florida

The seamstress prepares to open her storefront Akduash Attire in Avon Park and fulfill a lifelong dream inspired by her mother.

From humble beginnings as a seamstress in Jamaica, Rochelle Kinney is bringing her fashion brand Akduash Attire to Avon Park, Florida, mere months after arriving in August 2023.

According to Highlands News-Sun, the fashion entrepreneur is opening a storefront and fulfilling a lifelong dream fueled by her mother’s footsteps. The brand name “Akduash” originates from a combination of her children’s names: Akeen, Dujon, and Ashley. Her evolving aesthetic, however, reflects personal growth from risque party attire to more relaxed linens and pantsuits. “I think it also has to do with me growing, and I’m becoming older, she said about her style shift. “I want to be associated with something else now, and that’s why I think I’m turning towards that.”

With a five-year growth plan, including major retailers like Macy’s and Nordstrom, progress at the storefront is underway, and Avon Park residents have already expressed interest.

Kinney’s journey began at age eight in coastal Port Antonio, sewing her first outfit for her cousin — “an elastic waist skirt.” She reflected, “I started sewing professionally from back home when I was about 18 years old” to provide for her and her child.

Renowned locally for elaborate dresses and alterations, Kinney’s passion expanded when she immigrated to the U.S. in 2016. She initially found work through the Port Antonio community in Massachusetts. However, she took a hiatus as a nursing assistant upon relocating to Quincy, where her reputation didn’t precede her.

A move to Tampa, Florida, with her husband rejuvenated Kinney’s passion in 2020. “I started making a few prom dresses and then advertising them locally, and then a lot of people started coming in,” Kinney said.

Still, her storefront vision persisted, and she is dedicated to replicating that from Jamaica.

The 100 E. Main St. property, undergoing repairs for a predicted March opening, will showcase her creations, fulfilling Kinney’s long-held dream.