The local fashion scene is buzzing with amusement, intrigue, glitz and glam. As a destination in this turn of the century Trinidad and Tobago’s revived fashion journey has only now begun. Trinidad and Tobago, as the premier fashion destination in the Caribbean upped the ante in the first quarter of the 2015 calendar. It seems like there were a few positive steps in the right direction for Trinidad and Tobago, the fashion destination.
( Photo courtesy: Ministry of Trade, Industry, Investment and Communications)
The Fashion Look Book
The Creative TT and Export TT collaboration has fostered a brainchild in the form of a Trinidad and Tobago Fashion Look Book. There has been liaison with a target market in the French Caribbean to promote the sale of local fashion merchandise. The Creative TT board members anticipate that this will stimulate understanding by local fashion designers to be export ready. To aid this initiative there was a fashion workshop hosted by Creative TT for local designers on themes of export. A panel including Jennifer Williams Baffoe (specialist business advice consultant for creative industries), Raymond Wong (Professor at Fashion Institute of Technology/ co-owner of Intricate Concepts Inc. and Fourfront 1602), Soma Lisa Choudhury (Branding and Marketing Specialist for luxury designers) and Romero Bryan (luxury brand designer/ London College of Fashion graduate) participated in Trinidad and Tobago Fashion Week 2015. They shared their creative expertise and international industry experience in these workshops.
(Photo courtesy: Creative TT)
Another noteworthy step was the launch of 2TFW by Ashley Christmas. Ashley is a fashion designer and fashion events producer in the sister isle of Tobago. Ashley is responsible for the re-branded 2TFW formerly Tobago Fashion Weekend. Christmas spent his years in the U.S.A and in New York under the tutelage of Raymond Wong and Joseph Mbeh. Christmas launched a clothing line and debuted his collection at Trinidad and Tobago Fashion Week in 2008 – 2010. In 2010, Ashley participated in a Tobago segment of Trinidad and Tobago Fashion Week. In 2011, he created Tobago Fashion Weekend. This year 2015 Tobago Fashion Weekend became 2TFW (Trinidad and Tobago Fashion Week). It was expanded to include twenty five designers and spanned a week of educational workshops, tours, commercial opportunities and networking for fashion designers, models and all those involved in the industry. Fashion shows at Piarco International Airport’s atrium were used as promotional events for (Trinidad and Tobago Fashion Week) 2TFW. In addition, an online fashion store became part of the fashion week with the sale of promotional fashion week attire.
(Photo courtesy: 2TFW)
International Media Coverage
Trinidad and Tobago realizes that the international marketing and the social media platform today bridges the gap in communication by connecting destinations to the world especially in the name of fashion. Claire Sulmers, an international fashion media representative was photographed frolicking in Trinidad and Tobago’s fashion, fun and food. Claire Sulmers graced 2TFW this year to do media coverage for the event. She is actually the owner and editor in chief at The Fashion Bomb Daily an online blog for urban “fashionistas”. The blog showcases fashion from runways, editorials as well as beauty and style advice. Fashion from around the world even minority groups appear on the blog. Claire has been trained under the eye of journalists and has worked her way up to owning and publishing her own blog. Some of her experiences include working at Vogue Italia, Essence Magazine and AOL. Also, she has an affiliation with Harvard University.
(Photo courtesy: Fashion Bomb Daily)
Forward advanced incrementation is brought back home with the person the Caribbean identifies as the one who gave second breath to Trinidad and Tobago’s Fashion Industry, Anya Ayoung Chee. She has created a space for creative artisans and like minds to network and collaborate at her HOME. She launched Exhibit A. This is a part of HOME where designers can host displays and shopping nights to name a few. These projects are curated under the supervision of The Project Runway Winner. This step is indicative of a safe haven and mentorship platform to fill gaps in the local fashion industry from commercialization, marketing and distribution from local designers to consumers.
In the future, this “pay it forward” system could potentially connect more dots than originally intended. The stakeholders, game changers and veterans help these creative entrepreneurs and they in turn help others by sharing what they know. It is a tried and true principle that has worked in other industries for years. It is definitely transferable to Trinidad and Tobago, as an aspiring fashion destination.
(Photo courtesy: Exhibit A)
Caribbean Fashion Recognition
This year a few pivotal points were established in Trinidad and Tobago’s fashion. However, another event will make a powerful statement in taking Trinidad and Tobago and by extension the Caribbean’s fashion to the world . This event is called Caribbean Style Week. This will be held in south Florida from June 23rd – June 29th 2015. Caribbean fashion, models, designers and stylists will be showcased. Panels,workshops, runway shows and special events are planned for this Caribbean Style Week. Caribbean fashion is gaining its fair share of international recognition. This can only mean more viability and visibility for Trinidad and Tobago and the region.
Basically, if the stars continue their alignment and this momentum is reciprocated at light speed or even at this organic pace then the future for the creative industries (fashion) and Trinidad and Tobago as a fashion destination seems hopeful.