A group of thirty T&T designers created quite a stir when their work went on display in London last month.
London, regarded in the global fashion scene as the place for new designers, new trends, and the fashion of tomorrow, played host to an international fashion showcase in February 2012 entitled “Emerging Talent” as a lead-up to London Fashion Week. “Emerging Talent” was presented by the British Council (BC) with the British Fashion Council (BFC) as part of the Fashion 2012 Cultural Programme developed to celebrate the year of the Olympics and Paralympics. It was intended to give the general public and fashion industry professionals a unique insight to a new wave of talent from around the world. And the Caribbean was present.
Caribbean Calling, a brand developed for promoting Caribbean arts and cultural initiatives with partners and venues across the UK teamed up with the locally based Caribbean Fashion Style (CFstyle) to showcase talent of T&T and the Caribbean. The exhibition “I AM A CARIBBEAN” was held under the patronage of the T&T High Commission, London. The Tobago House of Assembly, through the Office of the Chief Secretary, supported the event and especially the participation of Tobago designers.
“I AM A CARIBBEAN’ featured the work of 30 designers in clothing, jewelry, accessories, photography, make-up and carnival design and also included other creative’s (models and business services). The two-week exhibition that ran from February 20 through March 2 was well received by diaspora and UK/International visitors including Jenny Waldman, Creative Producer of the Cultural Olympiad of LOCOG and Lauren Mc Kirdy, British Council, among others.
Caribbean Calling said while many expressed surprise at the high quality of work on display, the ‘I AM A CARIBBEAN’ exhibit was “really a testimony to the determination of not just the organisers but also the creatives who despite the lack of financial backing, rose to the challenge of participating in an important industry and cultural event”.
The group included Darcel de Vlugt, Ayanna & Asha Diaz, Akilah Jaramoji, Delia Alleyne, Antony Scully, Chandra Maharaj, Denise Carew, Dixie-Ann John, Fiona Compton, Jacqueline Charles, Elise Romany, Ted Arthur, Lynde-Ann Parks, Juliet Bernard, Brent Denoon, Oswin Browne, Marlon Rouse, Laura Michelle Gomes, Ayanna Leonard, Karen & Kathy Norman, Sharon Alonzo, Elise Romany, Nick Salloum, Camesha Powell, Sancho Francisco, Julie Charlett, Kered Clement, Meisha Trim, Daniel Smith, Sebastian Leonard, Kaja Jangaard, AVH Production and Campbell’s of London.
“This new generation of creatives is demonstrating resilience and determination in large measure. They are innovative, enterprising and are breathing life confidently into to their own distinct sense of Caribbean style and creativity. Most are not waiting on a hand-out though their businesses do need more support to grow. Largely self-financing or supported by family and friends, they are using social media and other technological tools to bring their creative talents to the attention of the market,” said Caribbean Calling.
Among the major challenge still facing emerging talent, said Caribbean Calling, is “the lack of an enabling environment for creators and creative entrepreneurs that is well thought out, transparent and consistent with a strategy to grow all our creative enterprises, not a select few”.