IVY RALPH, O.D.
Monday, October 8th - Sheryl Lee Ralphs’s mother, world renowned Jamaican fashion designer, Ivy Ralph passed away at the age of 90 years old. The Jamaican Observer stated that she was “Regarded as a pioneer of Jamaica's fashion industry”. Ralph won worldwide acclaim when she created the Kareeba suit in the early 1970s.
“It was an idea I had as a child, a more comfortable style of dress for men. I wanted to help them get away from the jacket-and-tie routine, to something far more comfortably suited to the island's climate,” Ralph is quoted in her biography.
Jamaica's then Prime Minister Michael Manley, the bio explained, “saw the ensemble and immediately sought out Ralph. The rest, as the saying goes, is history. It took off like wildfire, everybody wanted a Kareeba and she was busy night and day just trying to keep up with the orders, exporting to Saks Fifth Ave, B Altman, and top boutiques across the USA and the Caribbean”.
The Kareeba was embraced by world leaders and celebrities, including Prime Minister Errol Barrow (Barbados), President Forbes Burnham (Guyana), President Julius Nyerere (Tanzania), the King of Swaziland, World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammed Ali, and American pop star Michael Jackson in his young days. In 1999, Ralph was bestowed the Order of Distinction for outstanding contribution to the promotion of fashion for export by the Jamaican Government.
Ivy Ralph was also a huge supporter of the work her daughter’s organization, The D.I.V.A Foundation, to bring awareness to HIV/AIDS globally for over the past 30 years. In recent weeks, Sheryl and Ivy planned to host an event on World AIDS Day in Jamaica to help raise awareness and provide support to those affected by HIV/AIDS.
In Lieu of flowers and gifts...
The Ralph family is requesting that you make a generous donation to The DIVA Foundation 501(c)3, which raises awareness of HIV/AIDS and other major health topics. The foundation also produces the longest consecutive running HIV/AIDS benefit concert in Los Angeles - DIVAS Simply Singing!