The Art of the T – A T-shirt Odyssey

RGG Denim Vintage Soul Festival T-shirt

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The t-shirt has played an integral role in the lives of mankind from as early as the 19th century. It has been inspired by paradigm shifts and powerful movements in history. Consistently, it has emerged as a visual statement and a medium for communicating a message or stance in society. The t-shirt is fashion’s graphic contribution to lifestyle. This resonates strongly with Trinidadian designer, Jessel Brizan of The Jessel Brizan Design Group. Jessel is the curator behind The Art of the T. The Art of the T: A T-shirt Odyssey pays homage to the t-shirt. Brizan describes the virtual t-shirt exhibition as a t-shirt odyssey and a thematic exploration of t-shirt design. Some of these themes include Art, Revolution and Typography. The Art of the T is an online event that features updated versions of Brizan's designs available in limited quantities. Some of Brizan's labels featured in The Art of the T are Embryo, RGG Clothing Co. , Rgg Denim Co., Red Gold + Green and Urban Militia. Eco friendly fabrics, printing techniques and sustainable practices were considered in the curation of The Art of the T for the conscious consumer who is virtuous about their purpose in environmental and social responsibility. Regardless of its muse, the art of the T is partial to storytelling.

Urban Militia 'Born To Love' T-shirt

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The plain t-shirt tells a tale about the American labourers who cut their jumpsuits in half so they could better manage the sweltering heat of the warmer seasons. The t-shirt takes us on a maritime adventure to 1913 when the plain t-shirt was manufactured as an undershirt for the U.S. Navy. In 1948 Thomas E. Dewey, American presidential candidate distributed t-shirts decorated with his campaign slogan, “Dew It For Dewy.” In the 1950’s the t-shirt maneuvered the buoyancy of time and started an unnerving battle with the social code associated with the t-shirt's transition from undershirt to outwear attire. Furthermore, popular culture provoked this change with Hollywood actors like James Dean wearing the t-shirt solo to suit the rebellious nature of the character he played in the film, "Rebel Without a Cause". The time was opportune for the t-shirt uprising and people became creative. They embraced and explored the opportunity to decorate and embellish their tool of revolt, the t-shirt.

RGG Steel Soul Soca Unisex T-shirt in White 

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Soon the t-shirt design industry was seen as a sustainable and profitable industry for entrepreneurs. The momentum, invested interest and growing demand for the graphic t-shirt led to the invention of t-shirt printing machines that would then catapult the t-shirt industry. The 1970’s further fueled the demand for graphic t-shirts. It heralded the reverence of the punk era. It was a time when people found their voice and flooded fashion with graphic t-shirts that conveyed their sentiments about anything from current affairs to personal interest. The world was ripe with insurgence from the farce of equality for women’s rights, gay rights and civil rights. People were unafraid to use the graphic t-shirt as their way of speaking out against antagonistic issues which continued to pain the world.

RGG Denim Vintage Soul Festival Unisex T-shirt in Yellow

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Fast forward to the 21st century and t-shirts are still advocacy emblems. T-shirt activism became the strife of fashion designers who rejected the tirades of the presidential elect of 2017.  New York Fashion Week was presented as a platform for designers to stand united with all citizens negatively impacted by the changes from the new administration. A year prior to this event, fashion house Dior made their t-shirt debut with the statement, “We should all be feminists.” In 2017 models sashayed down the runway in protest t-shirts designed by international fashion designers like Prabal Gurung who was raised in Nepal. He included slogans on his soft knit t-shirts like “Our minds, our bodies, our power,” “Stronger than fear,” and “Revolution has no borders.” He was inspired by the recent Women’s March in New York which he participated in by walking with others to support the cause. Former Project Runway designer, Christian Siriano delivered his message with his shirts stating, “People are people”. Creatures of Comfort gave their contribution with silkscreened t-shirts capturing the words, “We are all human beings.” Together the t-shirt and its wearer would make memories that survive to depict the visual stories of an unforgettable moment in time.

RGG Kaya Roy Unisex T-shirt

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The Caribbean and by extension Trinidad and Tobago is also party to the graphic t-shirt from light activism to satirical nuances. In Jessel Brizan’s Art of the T, there is something for everyone. The fabrics used for the t-shirt construction in The Art of the T exhibition are soft, lightweight, ecofriendly and manufactured sustainably and ethically. The T-shirt odyssey expresses several themes. The Typography Series plays on the art and technique of arranging type to create artwork that is appealing and legible. The collection is inspired by traditional word games, abstract elements and geometric shapes. It is creative, colourful and highly recommended for the playful at heart, mind and soul. The Pop Art Series draws on the influence of iconic pop art designers like Roy Lichenstein, Andy Warhol and Peter Blake. The series also features the Urban Militia and RGG labels which represent local and global issues from the likes of British colonialism to the revolutionary Che Guevarra.

RGG Kaya Roy Unisex T-shirt in Pink Poui

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Jessel Brizan’s Art of the T exhibition is available for viewing and shopping online. Most of the t-shirts are crew neck and unisex to accommodate for everyone including the gender fluid and non-binary identity. Stylists advise that the opening of the neck of the t-shirt should rest close to the neck line. A quick style tip in choosing between the crew neck and the v-neck t-shirt is the length of one's neck. Persons with average length necks can choose either style. Persons with longer necks will benefit from deciding on the crew neck style versus the v-neck as the v-neck style will further elongate their already long neck. T-shirts can be worn fully untucked but stylists recommend half tucking the t-shirt for men who want a more stylish look. Lightly tucking in the T-shirt also helps to break up the body’s proportions so the wearer does not imitate any of the nefarious two or three dimensional shapes. Fit is critical in menswear so the size of the t-shirt selected must best suit the body type. The t-shirt should end between mid to upper crotch with preference given to mid length to avoid tummy flashing when arm stretching or lifting. The sleeves should end at mid bicep and they should lightly hug the arm without being too tight or too loose. A tailor is a wise investment for men who do not have the average body type and struggle to find the right fit.

RGG Geotype V2 Unisex T-shirt

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The Art of the T exhibition has a diverse range of design prints that makes each piece a great base for layering or as a statement piece when worn on its own. The never ending controversy over the appropriate age or time and place for wearing graphic T-shirts is still out for verdict. Stylists whose clients are honorary gentlemen have reserved the graphic T-shirt for their clients to wear at concerts and events. They believe this distinguishes gentlemen from their younger selves and aligns with the sophisticated sense of style for their mature clientele. On the other hand, T-shirt bantons insist on wearing them all day, every day, in every way and everywhere. T-shirt aficionados confounded about which style direction to choose can rest assured that they can trust their intuition and let their inner compass guide them. If all else fails, they can book a stylist who is an expert in this field. In any case the wearer is guaranteed that any selection from The Art of the T takes the wearer on a journey through life and style. The t-shirt offers the opportunity to represent identity and to allow the wearer to visually express themselves wherever they go whether for travel and leisure or travel with a purpose. The t-shirt becomes the solace for the wearer who can stand in their power knowing that the Caribbean community, history and identity also stands with them.

The T-Room Review

Have you been to the T-Room at Hotel Normandie located at Nook Avenue in St. Ann’s Trinidad?!  Peep their work on their social media sites. The T-Room is not a tea room so don’t get ahead of yourself. It’s a salon run by Tanja Banduwong, a German and her powerhouse creative team. Germany among other nations has understood creative culture and the value of it for their society. They have done exceptionally well in providing innovative contributions to the world in the past decades. They have taken the time to value learning about creative culture and design management and teaching this to their own citizens via various institutions in their society. Their whole creative thinking process, their mindset to progressive culture and education seem to be constantly evaluated and improved upon. They understand the critical success factors of creative culture to their country’s national development and diversification. This is one of the reasons I like the T-Room among others because here lies the most honest and authentic example of the birth and growth of a creative culture in a stable and eponymous field of hair styling.


Photo Credit:  The T-room Squad

Tanja is a qualified and skilled professional in hair and makeup styling. Although she is an educator in this field she has her fair share of stripes and stars to prove that she has the caliber of experience to take salon style in Trinidad to the next level. Her leadership style is open and collaborative without compromising respect among her team. She has managed to foster a work ethic and creative culture that is second to none in Trinidad. Although Tanja is the girl boss here she is far from being the stereotypical aloof “manager” as she is also on the floor “working it” with her squad. The team is constantly learning and expanding their skills. The squad is professional and the family type of camaraderie she has fostered with her staff is reflected in how they treat each other and  their clients. Tanja took the ladies of the T-Room to  Italy for training and development and creative culture immersion last year. A great experience in one of the more established fashion destinations in the world!  The ladies at the T- Room set the bar high as one of the few examples I have seen of women supporting and advocating for each other to be and do their best in the creative field. The T-Room is a fun and exciting salon where their love for what they do emanates from their A-class  haircuts, colour treatments, corrections, keratin treatments and styling services for men and women (and of course their overall aura and vibes).

Photo Credit: Pastel Hair

Photo Credit: Undercut


Photo Credit: Braided by the T-Room Braid Bar at The Decibel Expo

Photo Credit: Bridal Hairstyle (On Location)

Every detail of design has been accounted for at the T-Room.  The logo is pretty cool too with strong lettering enclosed by a wreath like crown.  The salon even has a  mascot, his name is Chino. He is a well behaved groomed family member of the T-Room. The staff members come in all shapes and sizes with so much soul and passion for their job. They usually wear black but there is so much flexibility and personality that they get to play with outfitting and expressing themselves without the confines of a uniform. The interior design of the salon is another major appreciation factor about this creative space. People underestimate the role that design plays in our lives. For instance you may wear a particular silhouette, style, colour or fabric because it makes you feel some type of way. You may love a salon or spa because it makes you feel special. In these instances people neglect to ask themselves that one question, “why?”  Why do I like this space? What is it about this shirt or this hairstyle that makes me feel this way? Why do I want to cut or colour my hair? Why did I choose this cut or colour? Some of us are not even conscious of the power behind “wearapy” and design therapy which is a “must have” for any thriving creative lifestyle and culture.

Photo Credit: The T-Room Squad at Milan Fashion Week

 The interior design for the T-Room was done by Christy Maingot, a local interior designer of CMID in Trinidad. The T-Room looks like a combination of modern, contemporary styles and a bit of glam. This is no easy task for an interior designer to acquire the skill of mixing styles. Christy’s management of elements and principles of design in this space is magically harmonious. Although the salon works by appointment only, the spatial planning is sensible, on point with proportion and scale, rhythm and flow for easy breezy functioning during peak times.  The colour scheme looks more monochromatic as the shades of white, cream, brown, gold and bronze are well placed throughout the T-Room. The space is perceptually bigger with the application of vanity mirrors, white washed walls and the obvious reflection of light from the artificial light sources on the smooth and shiny surfaces. There is open and closed storage with shelving which makes the perfect balance in a room that is neither too warm nor too cold. The salon has a huge glass window so the positioning of a window bench with the view of the hotel lobby was an ideal use of space. The throw pillows are nice additions as their textures and patterns soften and accentuate the style and vibe in the salon without emasculating it. The use of leather (if not leather like upholstery) for salon chairs and benches appeals to the sleek modernist in all of us whilst being easy to maintain and durable.  Intriguingly, the flooring has a wood grain finish appearance and the ceiling hints to subtle industrial vibes. Another example of style mixing is seen here. The dynamic diagonal lines on the ceiling beams are painted in white to blend in but still stand out by creating some transformational, directional and exciting energy in the room. These diagonal lines form triangles which pair up with the geometric shapes of the overhead rectangle lighting to manage earthly grounded feelings.

CMID (Christy Maingot Interior Designs)


CMID (Christy Maingot Interior Designs)

 I love that this space is a haven where anyone, any age can feel safe to put themselves in the hands of internationally trained professionals. The T-Room squad allow their clients; to explore and experiment, to challenge style status quos, to redefine, to reclaim and redeem an unprofessed love and care for themselves that has been long overdue and often resonates in the mantra, “I am beautiful and I am ready to take on the world, now hear me roar.”

Photo Credit: Braided by the T-Room Braid Bar at The Decibel Expo

The T-Room gets my 5 stars for excellent customer service, professionalism and creativity.

Keep up the fabulous work ladies !!!

To see more of T-Room

Visit their Facebook Page:

Visit their Instagram Page :

Book an appointment: 1.868.235.3679




Kaj Designs Hosts Legacy Atelier

Kaj Designs Hosts Legacy Atelier


Mid-Luxury Fashion House Bids Farewell To 2017 With Exclusive Retail Experience



KajFAB models strike a pose in front of the Kaj Flagship Boutique. From left to right: Fertility tank dress; long sleeved evening dress; silk kaftan; and maxi dress with ring accent. Makeup by Lyndy-Anne Parks of Lady Parks Makeup Studio. Photo courtesy Kyle Keens-Dumas of Konsortium Studios for Kaj Designs.


January 4, 2018 – Scarborough, Trinidad and Tobago… Tobago’s premier mid-luxury fashion house, Kaj Designs, will usher in the New Year and 2018 Carnival seasons with an exclusive Kaj Legacy Atelier. KajFAB femmes will enjoy 50% off all legacy items as the brand celebrates the bold, signature flair gained over its disruptive 12-year history in Caribbean fashion. Featuring both limited edition and one-of-a-kind creations from several Kaj collections including the resort wear of Shore Culture and Tribu Sauvage, the atelier will run throughout the New Year and Carnival seasons by private viewing only, while stocks last.


Kaj’s provocative innovation, the Signature Halter Lounge Shuffle, was first shown as part of the Shore Culture runway presentation at the 10th Caribbean Fashionweek (CFW) in June 2010 in Kingston, Jamaica. Photo courtesy Pulse Investments Limited.


In June 2010, Kaj premiered the barefoot luxury of the Shore Culture collection at the 10th Caribbean Fashionweek (CFW) in Kingston, Jamaica. The CFW audience welcomed the scintillating charms, textures and tones of the Caribbean as it set sail with the first-ever Kaj Resort collection. The fashion house presented a sea of undulating fabrics in rich tones of magenta, fuchsia and teal with flowing, easy creations befitting a luxurious vacation of leisure. Reflecting the sun-kissed iridescence of its Caribbean landscape, the collection lavishly drapes the feminine contour in ribbons of ombré and tie-dyed chiffons, silk rayons, silk satins, organzas and crepe georgettes with subtle accents in suede, leather, taffeta, coque and pheasant plumes and coconut shell.  Designed with versatility and feminine comfort in mind, the effortless silhouettes of Kaj’s Shore Culture collection can be worn in the day and night, ideal for festive New Year and Carnival functions.


A captive audience was treated to the majesty of Kaj’s sheer strapless Bohemian lounge dress, with wooden beaded fabric accents, at the 2010 CFW during the Shore Culture presentation. Photo courtesy Pulse Investments Limited.


In June 2011, Kaj marked an historic milestone with its launch in the French Caribbean and the placement of the Kaj Resort line at Guadeloupe’s exclusive Caribbean boutique, KOD. This move established KOD as the first retailer of the Kaj brand in the region. In February 2012, Kaj received one of its highest honours as it was selected to represent the Caribbean in an initiative of the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) entitled Caribbean Collections. This initiative sought to create opportunities for access to European markets via participation in the British Council and the British Fashion Council’s inaugural International Fashion Showcase for Autumn/Winter (A/W) 2012 during London Fashion Week (LFW). For the label’s LFW debut, Shore Culture was favoured as it featured at an LFW-produced exhibition held at The Charing Cross Hotel while select pieces featured at a private showing at the Corinthia Hotel.


Folded envelope tunic and Bermuda shorts from the 2010 Kaj Resort collection, Shore Culture. Makeup by Lyndy-Anne Parks of Lady Parks Makeup Studio. Photo courtesy Kyle Keens-Dumas of Konsortium Studios for Kaj Designs.


A trailblazer in Caribbean fashion, Kaj boasts several accomplishments that are irrefutable Caribbean fashion firsts. In a pioneering move to capture international markets, the Tobago fashion house made history with the May 2013 launch of its sophomore resort collection, Tribu Sauvage, in USA and Singapore. Kaj was the first Tobago brand at ENK International’s exclusive fashion tradeshow, Intermezzo Collections, a staple of the US fashion trade circuit. With its humble Intermezzo debut, Kaj successfully captured the attention of New York’s leading fashion industry publication, The Daily Front Row. Amidst more than 900 of the world’s foremost fashion brands, Kaj was featured in’s haute highlights alongside Alice and Olivia, Nicole Miller, L.A.M.B. and Rebecca Minkoff.


The KajFAB safari of the Kaj Resort collection, Tribu Sauvage, featured on the catwalk at the inaugural Fashion Festival Bali in August 2013 at the luxurious Stones Hotel in Bali’s Legian region. Featured is Kaj’s maxi dress with ring accent. Photo courtesy Anggara Mahendra


Later that same month, the brand led as the first Caribbean brand to exhibit and show at the international fashion tradeshow, BLUEPRINT, during Singapore’s fashion week, Asia Fashion Exchange (AFX). With its runway debut at BLUEPRINT, Kaj’s creations of bold tribal infusions set against a backdrop of wild animal and camouflage prints stood out among the pervading contemporary Asian aesthetic.


Kaj’s trendsetting camo raglan tunic with daring waist-high side slits, of the Tribu Sauvage resort collection, on the runway at the 2013 Fashion Festival Bali at the Stones Hotel, a Marriott Autograph Collection hotel. Also featured is Kaj’s faux-pocket maxi skirt. Photo courtesy Anggara Mahendra.


These favoured pieces later graced the runway at the inaugural Fashion Festival Bali (TFFB) in yet another daring move by the fashion house to forge ahead in infiltrating South Asian markets. On August 31, 2013, in the closing show presented by Indonesia TATLER, Kaj brought its signature flair to the TFFB runway. The high profile, 7-day event took place at the lavish Stones Hotel in Bali’s Legian region. Set against the breath-taking backdrop of one of the world’s leading tourist destinations, TFFB attracted an exclusive audience of media, fashion professionals and enthusiasts, leisure travellers and Asian Pacific celebrities and socialites including Michael and Lindy Klim and Casey Burgess.


The bold simplicity of Kaj’s Tribu Sauvage resort collection was captured during a 2015 Global Runway promotional photo-shoot on location in Verona, Italy. Featured are Kaj’s magyar tee with tribal pocket accents and its classic trousers with pocket accents. Photo courtesy Global Runway.


With a steadfast focus to establish Kaj as the Caribbean’s foremost mid-luxury fashion brand, the fashion house embarked on a strategic mission to penetrate European markets. This led to the launch of the Kaj Resort line at the Martinique-based online boutique, Kameri, in September 2014. In Nov 2014, the brand’s CEO, Liza Miller, was one of three female entrepreneurs selected to be part of exporTT’s gender programme participating in the CARTFUND French Caribbean Outermost Region (FCOR) trade mission alongside nine other Trinidad and Tobago companies. This opened the door to fourteen B2B meetings with buyers and other trade partners that generated ten trade leads. This was closely followed by the brand’s January 2015 launch at the Martinique-based boutique, Pygmées. By the last quarter of 2015, Kaj was introduced to the thriving UK luxury fashion market via its distribution with the London-based online boutique, Global Runway, coupled with an advertising campaign in Britain’s lavish specialist consumer magazine, Destinations Weddings and Honeymoons Abroad (DWHA). Kaj further strengthened its market presence as DWHA’s exclusive international fashion brand and partner at two of London’s leading trade events, The National Wedding Show (TNWS) and the World Travel Market London (WTM London). This was accompanied by Kaj’s retail placement at Guadeloupe’s exclusive boutique, Jheipour.


The sensual tribal infusions of Kaj’s long sleeved evening dress in a taupe, cream and black print captivate in the streets of New York City during a 2015 Global Runway promotional photo-shoot of the Tribu Sauvage resort collection. Photo courtesy Global Runway.


Kaj will commemorate this legacy of cutting edge creative excellence, fine quality and timeless luxury with its ongoing Kaj Legacy Atelier. KajFAB femmes may experience the exclusive versatility and impeccable finish of the Kaj Designs brand, shopping limited edition classic resort as well as one-of-a-kind legacy pieces including the brand’s signature innovation, the Shuffle. Join the Kaj Legacy Atelier Facebook (FB) event at or visit Kaj on FB at or on Twitter and Instagram @KajDesignsLIVE to stay in the KajFAB know. For more information, email


Kaj’s exhibitor’s booth at the fashion tradeshow, BLUEPRINT, during Singapore’s fashion week, Asia Fashion Exchange (AFX). Photo courtesy estuary PR.


WHAT:              Kaj Legacy Atelier

WHO:                 Kaj Designs

WHEN:             Throughout the New Year and 2018 Carnival seasons, while stocks last.

WHERE:          By private viewing only.

PAYMENT:     Cash and cheque payments accepted.




For media inquiries, please contact:

Liza Miller, Managing Director

estuary PR Limited

Phone: (868) 367-5295




Soca Smallies Kiddies Carnival Band

The beautiful thing about Trinidad Carnival is that everyone gets to experience part of it. This year I highlight a Kiddies Carnival Band named, “Soca Smallies”. This year their presentation is called “Rainforest Romp.” This band participates in the Junior Parade of the Bands. This is also an all inclusive band as the children are provided with snacks and drinks on the road. The Soca Smallies band invites parents to enjoy this “one day fun day” with their children. Masqueraders meet with the band on Carnival Saturday morning.


Photo Credit: Rachel De Nobriga

This small band is unique because the band leader actually provides a concept and a design for a costume. A detailed list of design instructions and materials will be provided to guests. This means the parent and the child can make the costume together. This gives the parent/child relationship a further boost as they get to create  and learn together whilst improving their team building skills and scoring some major relationship goals. Of course if parents are super busy they can always consult the band leader who will refer them to someone who can get the job done!

Registration for “Soca Smallies” takes place at Caboodle on Long Circular Road.

soca-smalliesPhoto Credit: Rachel De Nobriga

You can find more about them on their Facebook Page at

You can also call them at 1.868.477.3091

Give the Gift of Fashion – De Coteau Designs for Christmas

dc designs(Carnival Monday Wear Photo Credit: De Coteau Designs)


1.Who is the designer behind the brand?

My Name is Tiffeny De Coteau, founder of De Coteau Designs. I am an Engineering student at UTT. I am studying Manufacturing and Design Engineering. I really do enjoy designing anything basically so that’s why I chose that field and to start my own business.
2. What’s an engineer doing in fashion?
I started De Coteau Designs without any official training I just bought a sewing machine a few years ago to sew clothing for myself. Eventually I gained confidence to sew for friends and tackle swimwear. I took some classes to learn pattern making and construction of swimsuits. I am still learning as everyday we learn something new.
3. Describe your products?
I do women’s wear including swimwear, Carnival Monday Wear and resort wear which are my main focuses right now.
4. What are your plans for the Carnival fashion scene?
This is my first year with the Monday Wear so I am still getting my name out there. I am designing swimwear for the carnival beach goers.
5. What are your plans for the future?
I have already started an Easter Collection and I am collaborating with a designer from Dominica too so stay tuned for that.
6. How can persons interested in your collection or wanting to collaborate contact you?
Anyone wishing to purchase can do so my DM on IG which is @ Decoteaudesigns or email
A note from our editor:
Season’s Greetings All,
I hope you enjoyed this article on Carnival Monday Wear. I just wanted you to know that Monday Wear is relatively new to our fashion landscape. The beauty and functionality in design of Monday Wear is the added bonus that one does not have to wait for Carnival to wear it. These statement pieces are perfect at adding that pop to a simple outfit whether it be a maxi or mini skirt even a pair of skinny jeans, ‘jeggings’ or shorts. If you want they can also work as a dual function outfit. You can cover it up with a blazer for a more chic daytime affair and let loose without the jacket for your night time rendezvous! It’s a “win win” situation as you can buy one piece and use it over and over again with so many different pairing options! So shop now and buy these local pieces for the yourself and the fabulous ‘femmes’ who would love the gift of fashion this Christmas!!!


Let’s Go Trinidad and Tobago