Fashion Tourism

Fashion Destination Trinidad and Tobago!!

Think about it…

From time immemorial there has been the evolution of the “new tourist” who wants more than the standard package of sun, sea and sand. This tourist is more knowledgeable, experienced and has more disposable income. Destinations worldwide are taking heed of this change and are diversifying and repositioning their tourism product. They are investing in an all out campaign to have the competitive edge over other destinations by introducing niche market and alternative forms of tourism.

Fashion tourism is an alternative form of tourism that is gradually becoming one of the more sought after niche tourism markets. They seek a destination to fulfill their needs and desires for new tastes in clothing, shopping and the overall experience of the destination’s culture that reflects its creativity, innovation and intricate tapestry of skills and knowledge of the host country. They want to actively participate in the destination’s fashion experience. Fashion is always evolving and the new tourist will not be kept behind. They want to get on board with the latest trends and tastes especially if this means destination travel.

Some destinations are already taking advantage of this relatively new craze. South Africa has capitalized on this venture and they have engrained their names in the realm of Paris. Gavin Rajah, a South African designer has been chosen to showcase his collections at Paris Fashion Week. He used the opportunity to highlight the culture and talent of South Africa therefore stimulating interest from the French population in the beautiful South African destination.

However, the buzz is not only in South Africa; London is also a leading fashion capital and Britain’s fashion industry is already worth 3 billion pounds. It is a premier shopping destination and boasts of shopping districts as the major tourist attractions and emerging markets appealing to the tourist as the ideal shopping holiday. According to Angela Ahrendts, Burberry’s chief CEO, there is a growing Traveling Luxury Consumer who makes up 10 % of Burberry sales. In addition, the Chinese community spends six times more on luxury fashion when they travel outside their mother country. High spending foreign tourists have created a 32 % boost in post tax profits at Harvey Nichols a department store in London. Harods, another store reported that the Chinese were its top spending international visitors spending 3,500 pounds with each visit. This diversification of their tourism sector has contributed significantly to the United Kingdom’s economy.

Meanwhile, Trinidad and Tobago has been making their own mark on the international fashion scene. The prominent Caribbean Fashion Week takes place every year in Jamaica and feature talented designers from the twin island republic of Trinidad and Tobago. International celebrities and socialites  participate in the prestigious and glamorous event. Also, Trinidad and Tobago has developed their  very own Fashion Week Trinidad and Tobago which has been growing to become a recognized event in the regional fashion industry.  In 2011, there was the emergence of a Project Runway Season 9 winner, former Trinidad and Tobago beauty queen Anya Ayoung Chee. This secured the little island’s name even more in the distinguished realm of fashion. Anya  has debuted collections such as Pilar.

Brazilian born, Trinidadian raised Fashion designer Chandra Maharaj is also making headlines on the international fashion scene.  Her designer label is synonymous with Miami Fashion Week,  The 3rd Annual Rockstar Fashion Throwdown, WinTv Miss Indian Network Pageant, Plitz Passion for Fashion Swimwear Show.  Chandra Maharaj’s swim wear collections; Amazonas, Zambi  reflect the deep roots of her diverse culture, experience and love  for the art form of fashion designing. This fashion goddess; Chandra Maharaj asserts that Trinidad and Tobago has a unique type of creativity and energy. She says, “..they have a special way of showing creativity whether it be their clothing, music, movies.” While she confirms that there is an availability of fabrics for designers there is a need for more options for the designers to develop and evolve their product. Hence, Chandra emphasizes that the artists need the support and aid from the entities involved in the industry.

Of course other Fashion Districts are infamous for their events, launches, cocktail parties and festivals. However, there is so much to do at Fashion Destination Trinidad and Tobago. Whilst mall hopping and street shopping are common these activities are undertaken in cultural capitals of the country. So shoppers and designers are not only exposed to the fashion experience but they can participate in cultural exchange  and be swept away by the vibrant aura of the people and the ambience. Whether you choose to satisfy your inner fashionista, splurge a little extra at local designer boutiques or  get your swag on with luxury fittings then the  temptation and the opportunity to do so is there for the taking. The international community can even get a sneak peek at Carnival, the pivotal point of culture in Trinidad and Tobago. Today the production of this event and the visitor arrivals are phenomenal. But the most critical and beautiful part of “The Greatest Show on Earth,” is the costume. Mas Camps are busy year round innovating, designing and capturing the costume rather the trademark of the people, heritage and history. Band launches have become centre stages for Carnival costume couture and subsequently the ideal essence of an island party. This Fashion Destination has something for everybody to do. Fashion students wishing to elope to a Caribbean paradise and fuse their creativity with island inspiration  can opt for fashion studies at The University of Trinidad and Tobago or even enroll at local academies in the art of beauty and its aesthetics.

Undoubtedly, Fashion destination Trinidad and Tobago is still in its infancy stage compared to other destinations.  There is a lack of some needs that can challenge any destination propelling in the direction of becoming a fashion tourism capital of the Caribbean.  The local fashion industry has potential for gaining momentum.  The nation celebrated its 50th anniversary of independence this year with a plethora of activities and celebrations of a Trinbagonian identity. The people behold an epiphany and soon greater understanding of the wealth of our ancestral customs and traditions. These customs have trickled down through bloodlines to allow sons and daughters of the isles to tap into their creativity and offer the international community, a unique piece of heaven on earth, a local fashion industry revamped, re-energized and 100 % local. The nation is well poised for explosion onto the international scene. The time is now to truly get together; develop, diversify and showcase what we have to offer.