So there I was CEO of Let’s Go Trinidad and Tobago; a tourism development and promotion organization venturing on a journey. This time to explore a potential niche tourism market called fashion tourism at a local fashion event. Style Spirit is the second annual fashion show event in Trinidad and Tobago. Style Spirit was coordinated by Trinidad Look book, a local magazine. Already, my expectations were heightening as well as my doubts as I anticipated the transformation of a regular warehouse to a fashion runway somewhere in San Juan, Trinidad.
On arriving, there was a buzz of activity and runway music blasting from a warehouse that sat on the top of a hill. Thankfully, there was police presence and even someone to direct attendees to parking. There was so much energy and vibes that it was eclectic. There was even a hostess who courteously seated patrons. It seemed like the rain deterred the evening’s attendance. However, the presence of local celebrities and socialites could not be overlooked; the girl from Kimba Sorzano’s “Over You”, Sarah Jane Waddell, Hans de Vignes, Samantha John, Sandalias sisters and the lovely Chandra Maharaj.
Then it was time for the show. Style Spirit had begun and the designers were pelting down the runway with creative aesthetics and silhouettes that were eye pleasing and mind teasing. I understood that there was the dire need to use a warehouse and to simplify the venue with seating, runway, lights, music and the warmth of Trinbagonian people because fashion needs to speak for itself.
The fashion collections spoke, sang and told tales of a local people with warm tones of orange and brown. There was strength in patterned prints of black and white as well as dominance of a strong Trinbagonian woman in hues of black. The grace and style of a woman captured in the perfect tapering of white gowns. Undoubtedly, the shapes and shades of exotic Trinbagonian women were forever vibrant, youthful and energetic in royal blue, yellow green and patterned prints for swim wear and resort casual collections. The hair and makeup stylists did justice to runway debuts by using fresh, natural and edgy appeals where necessary.
The excitement was too much for my little fashionista heart. The gorgeous models must be commended for a job well done. My little shopping heart was beating so fast for every show stopping, “must have” accessory piece. The accompanied bursts of applause from the audience only helped overwhelm my passion for fashion. Each piece ranged from edgy to natural they all seemed to be screaming, “Buy me!”
In addition to the previous night’s designers Sunday’s showing of collections by Van der Vlugt, Fashion Dandy, Liilah, A-Lan swimwear, Delia Alleyne, 36 EDR, Rhion, Loud by Afiya, Kimaya Glasgow, Hak Gwai evoked the stirrings of Style Spirit. Their passion, sense of fashion and their very essence of being was felt as it emanated from every article of clothing they carefully and skillfully crafted. Undeniably, the shopper won’t be wearing a random piece but a signature of style and a brand of the designers’ spirit that is Style Spirit.
The finale fashion show ended with an after party at Tequila Twist on the popular Ariapita Avenue. Patrons would reminisce and party with one of the coolest DJ’s in the local entertainment industry; Dj Private Ryan. As the evening came to a close it dawned on me that this was style spirit. Fashion tourism was Style Spirit. The act of people journeying to a destination to actively participate in and possibly consume fashion summed up the fashion weekend’s proceedings as well as the definition of fashion tourism. In retrospect Style Spirit by extension fashion tourism didn’t start that evening rather it just got a pedestal to echo the unsung voices of an art form poised to take over the realm of fashion tourism worldwide.
Let’s Go Trinidad and Tobago!