Milan . . . Paris . . . New York . . .Tokyo . . . what comes to mind? Fashion!
These cities are known for being the best place to find the trendiest and most popular clothing . . . but . . . should Trinidad and Tobago rank among the top fashion countries in the world?
One word – Carnival! Known for hosting the greatest show on earth, Trinidad’s Carnival brings together a combination of colours, textures, creativity, style and culture. Carnival celebrations offer persons an opportunity to express themselves and explore their personality . . . hummm . . . . isn’t that what fashion is?
Dating back to the 1930’s, fashion in TnT has been something supported by both Trinidadians and Tobagonians. The streets of Port of Spain were lined with local designers and seamstress, all with a natural eye for trendy fashion.
In her book “A Spirited Butterfly”, Rosemary Stone, a Trinidadian fashion designer and columnist for over 26 years, documents the evolution of Trinidad’s fashion. From as far back as the 1930’s with Trinidad’s thriving manufacturing industry to more recent times which have seen the likes of Meiling and Anya Ayoung-Chee (America’s Project Runway 2011 winner), Stone is determined to play her part in getting TnT’s industry up and running once more. Her words, “We have a fashion sense of our own!”
Because Trinidad and Tobago has such a wide range of cultures and races, this definitely gives an edge over others for originality and style. According to Claudia Pegus, popular local designer, “the best way to describe TnT is a ‘callaloo‘. A popular Trini dish that has a little bit of this and that. That’s what TnT is!”
Collectively, Trinidad’s fashion pioneers are the front runners for fashion in the Caribbean. Established in 2008 Fashion Week Trinidad & Tobago (FWTT) is the only local platform for designers to present their designs in a professional setting. From its conception till now FWTT has attracted the attention of some of the world’s most influential designers! In many ways, Ayoung-Chee’s (mentioned earlier) international success has opened the door to many local young designers. With her Project Runway winning collection called ‘Tobago Love”, Ayoung-Chee was able to give the world a taste of Sweet Trinidad and Tobago.
Today the streets of TnT may be filled with cheap, imported garments, but many still choose to purchase fabric and visit their favorite dress maker. It’s good to know that many still prefer to use the skills of our local talent. In 2012, the University of Trinidad and Tobago saw its first Bachelor of Arts (Hos) graduates from the only one of its kind in the Caribbean – The Academy of Fashion and Design.
With a growing awareness of local talent, its seems that soon many will be flocking to the islands of Sweet Trinidad and Tobago to shop for the latest trends and fashions!
Upcoming events – Tobago fashion week 2013!