With Saint Lucia HOT Couture only five days away, we’re previewing a few of the regional designers who will feature in the “Island Vibe” fashion extravaganza at The Johnsons Centre in Rodney Bay. From Caribbean household names to trailblazing up-and-comers, it’s a line-up worthy of any fashionista’s attention!
Meiling & Meiling Menswear from Trinidad
Very few people in the Caribbean are automatically known by their first name. Meiling (who actually does have a surname – Esau) is the tour de force behind the premier fashion brand, not only in Trinidad but throughout the Caribbean and South America. Meiling is also known for designing and dressing celebrities in the region; International celebrities such as Chef Wolfgang Puck wears her classic white shirts on a regular basis. Last year Meiling was recognised as a National Icon of Trinidad & Tobago and invited to the Women of Influence Summit as one of the top global designers.
When Anthony Reid criticised Meiling’s menswear line twelve years ago, she dared him to improve on it! Reid was a fashion-forward guy with no formal training as a designer, but that didn’t stop him from accepting Meiling’s challenge to ultimately tailor his place on the fashion design rostrum. Fashionistas now hail the line with its sophisticated cuts, variation of colour palette and unmistakably cool and trendy vibe.
drennaLUNA from Jamaica
drennaLUNA, the brainchild of emerging Caribbean designer Arlene L. Martin, is inspired by silhouettes. Elegant designs accentuate the beauty of a woman, while simple styles offer versatility. The inspirations for Arlene’s pieces come
from many avenues. It could be a random creative impulse at any hour of the night or day, the trimmings in a store, an accessory piece, the client brief or simply the fabric. Whatever incites the spark, the bottom line is the outcome. And Arlene wants her customers to feel beautiful because when they do they exude confidence and happiness.
S.L.R from Barbados
Shakad Luxury Resort (S.L.R.) is a lifestyle brand founded in Barbados by Shanika Burnett. As producers of high-end resort clothing for women and men, their focus is on celebrating the opulence of the Caribbean through the experience of effortlessly elegant and timeless fashion, fused with contemporary design concepts. Dedicated to promoting green living, the company uses fabric blends of the finest quality, 100% natural fibres including silk, linen and exotic cotton. With impeccable craftsmanship and acute attention to detail, they embrace exceptional quality.
The Cloth from Trinidad
The Cloth started as a collaborative twenty-plus years ago, and for the last fifteen, Robert Young has single handedly maintained the label which has come to represent a unique, dynamic and always original Caribbean aesthetic. Robert is best described as conscientious yet daring, and “subversively nationalistic while influenced by the wider region” which acts as the perfect backdrop for his practical, colourful and playful designs. Robert’s work has gone beyond the clothing rack. His designs have been part of presentations of the Emmy Award-winning mas designer Peter Minshall and he has designed for such Caribbean icons of music as David Rudder.
First Resort from Guyana
Sonia Noel can say she has made her mark on the Caribbean as one of the region’s most well known designers, having shown Mariska’s Designs on catwalks in St. Maarten, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Jamaica, St. Kitts and more, “Exclusive Designs with an upbeat Caribbean Flavour” describes her creations, exclusively crafted and adorned with beads and hand-painted motifs which bring the Caribbean to life in her designs. Says Noel: “In Guyana we boast of six ethnicities living harmoniously in the land of many waters . . . I am a melting pot of influences so my fashion statements appeal to a wide cross-section of tastes, personalities and body types.”
Watch out for profiles of Saint Lucia’s very own HOT designers in next Wednesday’s STAR! Tickets for Saint Lucia HOT Couture are on sale now at the usual outlets and online at stluciajazz.org. Don’t miss it!