So, while I was only halfway looking (jk, I was raptly paying attention) an amazing thing happened. The fashion industry in Trinidad and Tobago experienced a beautifully vivid resurgence. The creativity and passion and desire that Trinbagonians have always had for flavour and colour and decadence, began to once again be funnelled into expressions of fashion.
Today, Haute Caribe: The World of Trinidad and Tobago Fashion, a 12 minute mini-documentary about the evolution of fashion on my wonderful twin island state debuted online.
With input from some of Trinidad's longstanding fashion heavyweights like Claudia Pegus, Meiling, Dianne Hunt and Robert Young as well as relative newcomers like Anya Ayoung Chee, Keegan Simon, Lori-Antoinette Williams and Mel Gabriel, the documentary explores the way that attitudes to fashion have waxed and waned in Trinbago over the last few decades.
Haute Caribe explores the ways in which fashion used to be tightly integrated into the culture of Trinidad and Tobago, and the ways in which that attitude is returning. In the last few years, there has been a wave of interest and appreciation for the talent that we have always had sitting right here within our shores, and a recognition of the young and upcoming talent that is eagerly waiting in the wings.
Watching the documentary (obsessively...) gives me an immense sense of pride. I remember feeling frustrated back in 2010, because I felt that there would never be a future in fashion for me if I stayed in Trinidad; the home I love. Thankfully, that is changing. From the Caribbean Academy of Fashion Design at UTT to the upcoming Style Spirit Fashion Weekend headed by Trinidad Lookbook Editor-in-Chief, Mel Gabriel, Trinidad is finally beginning to recognize fashion as a viable industry that should be supported and explored. There are so many possibilities when it comes to fashion, and I love knowing that I'm here, and that I can get in on the ground floor when it comes to helping build an industry that I value.
In any case, head on over to www.hautecaribe.com to view the full documentary. Really soak it in. It's beautifully produced and directed and really does justice to the scope of the history and talent of fashion in Trinidad and Tobago. Personally, I hope there are a few more installments!
"Right now the Caribbean is ripe. It's ripe for fashion. Fashion is ready. We're ready."-Lori-Antoinette Williams (Designer, Hak Gwai)