Fit fashion

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Sportswear needs to be functional – but that doesn’t mean it can’t look good, too. Jeneille Lewis meets the Caribbean designers putting wow into your workouts

“It’s functional, fashionable and fancy”
Jin Forde at J.Angelique
• Barbados/Trinidad & Tobago
• Style inspiration: Karl Lagerfeld
• Price point: US$45-100

Tell us about your brand…
In keeping with all J.Angelique Clothing, Jin Forde SWEAT is geared toward the modern diva who lives an active lifestyle, and who is into health and exercise. SWEAT was created after my return to the gym after two years of inactivity. When I arrived, I realised my old gym garb was totally irrelevant. Even in the yoga studio, I have to be on top of my game and in style. Similar to my ready-to-wear collections, I did research on the type of SWEAT wear to design – it had to be functional, fashionable and fancy. Our latest SWEAT collection will see the addition of performance swimwear to cater to the water divas. WET SWEAT will see four looks: two monokinis, two two-piece bikinis.

What is your favourite piece?
The full body jumpsuit. It’s exceptional for yoga, especially all the back bends and downward dogs. It’s so funny when I get dressed for class and end up going out for drinks because this piece doubles as a funky jumpsuit that is easily paired with a blazer.

What are you excited about for the future?
An expansion in the J.Angelique portfolio with stocked ready-to-wear pieces at our boutique. We’re also launching 2019 MonDiva and Prêt-à-Fêter collections. Everyone is excited!

Who would you love to see rocking your designs?
Dua Lipa. I love her effortless, sexy vibe right now. I can see her styling the jumpsuit perfectly.
www.jangelique.com; info@jangelique.com; Instagram: @designerjangelique

 

“I design from the heart”
Chandra Maharaj

• Trinidad & Tobago
• Style inspirations: Streetwear, old classics, comfort
• Price point: US$30-125

Tell us about your brand…
We’re an ever-evolving lifestyle brand covering swimwear, fit wear, resort wear, fete wear, plus-size swimwear, Monday wear and Carnival costumes. I design from the heart and just let my creativity flow. Our latest collection is BadAss Babes, an exciting fit-wear range. It’s a durable, practical, fun and fashionable collection for the woman that makes no excuses in the gym, and wants to look cute while doing it.

What is your favourite piece?
The collection has two black-and-white prints, four solid colours, head bands and removable/optional belts, all designed to be mixed and matched to create unique looks. This concept makes it fun for the customer to put the look together, and personalise a set to their taste.

What are you excited about for the future?
There is a growing trend for health and wellness in the region, which – as a fitness enthusiast – makes me happy. A lot of people in the Caribbean are fitness oriented to some degree, from diehard athletes to those who just try their best; it’s amazing to see the time and dedication women, especially, are investing into their fitness regimes. I’m looking forward to seeing this trend continue to grow, and to being a part of it through my fit-wear collection. It’s my pleasure to add an important touch of energy to what is a daunting task. Our high-quality fit wear was designed to give you a boost. After all, what you wear affects the way you feel and perform. Fitness is great, but it’s important to feel great while doing it!

Who would you love to see rocking your designs?
I dream of dressing beauties such as Rihanna, Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez. But my heart is equally full seeing the women who choose to support my brand in my pieces. These are the women that I appreciate and love having the opportunity to dress the most.
www.chandramaharajdesigns.com; info@chandramaharajdesigns.com; Instagram: @chandramaharaj; www.facebook.com/chandramaharajswimwear

 

“Sporty yet sexy”
Sian McIntosh at Rebel
• Trinidad & Tobago
• Style inspirations: Grace Jones and Naomi Campbell – strong, sexy black women
• Price point: US$85-130

Tell us about your brand…
Rebel is a swimwear brand. The new collection is inspired by fierce female tennis players at the top of the game. Bright colours and prints embody what I imagine each player’s personality to be: for example, Serena Williams is always so dominating and strong – an animal print suits her perfectly; Anna Kournikova, on the other hand, was well known for being very sexy – hence the tiny bikini. The collection is sporty yet true to the Brazilian cuts and sexy style that Rebel is known for.

What is your favourite piece?
Definitely the Cardinal long-sleeve whole piece – I love the sleeve detail with the cutout in the front. It’s perfect for any fabulous island vacation, and covers problem areas while still remaining sexy.

What are you excited about for the future?
My 2019 Monday Wear collection for Tribe’s Adelita section, which is designed by my dear friend and mentor Solange Govia. Generally, the potential of Rebel, and where it can go, excites me more than ever. Rebel is a high-quality brand that can stand up next to bigger brands in any market. The possibilities are endless!

Who would you love to see rocking your designs?
Beyoncé, Rihanna and Zendaya. I’m obsessed with all of them.
rebelbeachwear@gmail.com; Instagram: @rebelusian

 

“It’s about living a healthier life”
Shenique Clarke at GreenFit
• Barbados
• Style inspirations: Lululemon, Fabletics
• Price point: US$15-95

Tell us about your brand…
GreenFit is a line of fitness/street apparel that uses a bold and creative play on words and images to evoke awareness about living a healthier life. I was tired of the way I was feeling, and decided to change my lifestyle. I now use my past experiences with diet and exercise to inspire others and keep myself motivated. We sell sports bras, hoodies, cropped tops, joggers and tights/leggings but our speciality is graphic T-shirts. Our latest collection is Summer Never Ends by GreenFit and Cyxsense Design, a collaboration to create a line of body/swim suits. The idea was to create a piece that someone could wear to work out, to party, to chill or go for a swim.

What is your favourite piece?
A T-shirt bearing the words ‘Fat Killing Season’. This shirt embodies my personal weight-loss journey and my entire vision: it is the main driving force behind the brand.

What are you excited about for the future?
Adding a bigger health element to GreenFit by introducing nutrition (meal plans, supplements, Caribbean recipes) to the brand.

Who would you love to see rocking your designs?
Personal trainer Massy Arias, or any Bajan Olympic athlete.
www.greenfitbb.com; info@greenfitbb.com; Instagram: @greenfitofficial; www.facebook.com/GreenFitbb

 

“A symbol of the Caribbean”
YINK
• Trinidad & Tobago
• Style inspirations: Kanye West, Virgil Abloh, Olivier Rousteing, Gucci
• Price point: US$50-200

Tell us about your brand…
YINK is a streetwear/sportswear brand inspired by Caribbean creativity and created for people in the region and the diaspora. We use the best resources available in terms of fabric, placing high emphasis on the fit and construction of our pieces. Our latest collection is a collaboration between two designers. There is a cut-and-sew collection that is practical to the Caribbean and easy to wear. There is also an urban graphic tee collection inspired by flora and fauna. This has set the tone for the design direction of YINK going forward.

What is your favourite piece?
The YINK Island Gold Dad cap. It’s an important piece that connects YINK to the Caribbean and reinforces our goal to not only make YINK synonymous with Caribbean fashion but to make the brand a symbol for the Caribbean. We want to build a brand that we can identify with and call our own.

What are you excited about for the future?
Making our items export-ready, and growing our brand to reach more of the Caribbean demographic.

Who would you love to see rocking your designs?
Rihanna, Popcaan, Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Kylie Jenner, Luka Sabbat.
www.yink.co; info@yink.co; Instagram: @yinkTT; www.facebook.com/YINKTT

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