Your 2018 look book
What should you be wearing in 2018? Jeneille Lewis asks ten of the Caribbean’s most exciting designers for their top style tips
Chen Burkett, New York & Antigua
Designer: Chen Burkett
What’s hot for 2018? Sheer fabrics, bold cuts in gorgeous colours, rule-breaking statement pieces.
Style inspirations: Michelle Obama.
What inspired your latest collection? My late grandmother’s style. She always wore classic tailored silhouettes.
What are some of your favourite pieces? If I had to pick, perhaps my brand’s more voluminous styles in the boldest prints.
What excites you about fashion in the Caribbean right now? Our young designers. Social media has been a great way to connect with young people across the Caribbean. I hope to see more emerging designers and hope to help them reach a more international market.
• www.chenburkett.com; Facebook: ChenBurkettNY; Instagram: @chenburkettny; firstname.lastname@example.org
ShaSha Designs, Guyana
Designer: Keisha Edwards
What’s hot for 2018? Mixed and matched prints such as florals against stripes and polka dots. Also underwear becoming outer wear, like Madonna in the 1980s.
Style inspirations: Rihanna, an island girl trendsetter. She shows us success is attainable and that our dreams can come true.
What inspired your latest collection? It’s called Synesthesia, after the neurological phenomenon that allows an individual to hear, see and taste colours. I used this concept to create a collection that appeals to people’s senses and captures the Caribbean’s vibrant aesthetic, coupled with classic silhouettes, symmetrical lines and exciting cuts.
What are some of your favourite pieces? The jumpsuits. The coral ruffled halter jumpsuit, with its light fabric, is very flirty – it reminds me of palm leaves blowing in the wind.
What excites you about fashion in the Caribbean right now? The fashion trends that will emerge from festivals such as Mashramani and Carnival. The colours, prints and especially wire bending of costumes truly show the creativity of the region. Designers are finding creative ways to merge fashion and culture with styles that are current.
• www.shashadesigns.com; email@example.com; Facebook: shashadesigns; Instagram: @shashadesigns; Shop: East Ruimveldt, Georgetown, Guyana
Ecliff Elie Limited, Trinidad & Tobago
Designer: Ecliff Elie
What’s hot for 2018? Men’s accessories – from cross-body bags to male wrist jewellery, men are getting more creative.
Style inspirations: My clients inspire me with the energy and passion they bring.
What inspired your latest collection? My luxury menswear collection, Prima Volta, is inspired by my travel to Italy. Ancient Rome influenced the attention to detail; the Renaissance art of Florence motivated the style. The sophistication of Milan inspired a sharp, modern cut and premium feel; the romantic soul of Venice brings balance.
What are some of your favourite pieces? The suits with a blend of burgundy – the
colour is such an engaging anchor; it adds depth and power.
What excites you about fashion in the Caribbean right now? That men are able to access their fashion needs within the region. I’m producing top-quality menswear right here in Trinidad.
• www.ecliffelie.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Facebook: Ecliff Elie Limited; Instagram: @ecliffelie; Shop: 32 Rosalino Street, Woodbrook, Trinidad
Marie Collette, Trinidad & Tobago
Designer: Keisha Collette Thomas
What’s hot for 2018? New York City style.
Style inspirations: I’m currently obsessed by Kyrzayda Rodriguez’s style blog.
What inspired your latest collection? As I often find myself in New York City in spring, shopping for new looks, it seemed only fitting to call my collection Caribbean Spring, and to try to incorporate elements of both cultures in my new pieces.
What are some of your favourite pieces? It’s always hard to choose. But if I had to, I’d pick the Lemonade, Robin, Tulip, Daiquiri, Lilly and Honey pieces.
What excites you about fashion in the Caribbean right now? I’m excited to see local and regional designers explode on the international scene.
• www.mariecollette.com; email@example.com; Facebook: mariecollettedesigns; Instagram: @_mariecollette_
Fashion Is Payne, St Vincent & the Grenadines
Designer: Jeremy Payne
What’s hot for 2018? Fringe and stripes. Athleisure. Plus variations of fanny packs – they’re being updated and redesigned in cool ways.
Style inspirations: Solange, Rihanna, Zendaya and the evolving #BlackGirlMagic movement. Seeing diversity on all spectrums is inspiring.
What inspired your latest collection? I wanted to create something similar to a capsule collection with simple but exciting separates that can be styled in different ways; pieces that are versatile and can be dressed up or down.
What are some of your favourite pieces? Our oversized unisex tees: relaxed on a guy, and transform into a hip, comfy tee-dress for a girl.
What excites you about fashion in the Caribbean right now? There are more retail spaces and more regional brands emerging. The #shoplocal #supportlocal #wearlocal customer is real and full of island pride.
• www.fashionispayne.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Facebook: fashionispayne; Instagram: @fashion_is_payne; Shop: Kimya Glasgow Boutique, St Vincent; Akimbo, Arima, Trinidad
Iridescent, St Kitts
Designers: Keeanna Ible and Shavaniece Lake
What’s hot for 2018? Detailed embellishment on simple clothing – sequins, glitter, rhinestone embroidery.
Style inspirations: Everything and anything iridescent!
What inspired your latest collection? Like flowers, our Bloom collection exudes beauty and awe. The different shades of blue signify confidence too.
What are some of your favourite pieces? The royal-blue flower-accentuated ball gown. It ties the entire collection together in terms of the design and styling.
What excites you about fashion in the Caribbean right now? We hope that 2018 will be the year of exposure for fashion in our region – it’s time for the world to know that the Caribbean can produce the next Alexander McQueen!
• email@example.com; Facebook: Iridescent Fashion; Instagram: @iridescentfashion; Shop: Church Street, Basseterre, St Kitts
Soka, St Vincent & the Grenadines
Designer: Karen De Freitas Fraser
What’s hot for 2018? Always black! But also metallics.
Style inspirations: Solange, SZA, Spice, Zoe Kravitz, Cardi B, Cipriana Quann, Tracee Ellis Ross, A$AP Rocky and Elaine Welteroth
What inspired your latest collection? Soka is inspired by Kanaval in Haiti, my sister island. I researched vintage images of Haitian women from the 1800s: how they tied their hair, and so on. I’m interested in telling the story of freedom and resistance expressed from the first free black nation in the Western hemisphere.
What are some of your favourite pieces? There’s a lot of handwork going into this new collection, from embroidery to macrame, knitting, crocheting and beading. It’s very involved with traditional native art.
What excites you about fashion in the Caribbean right now? The movement of buying Caribbean. Also, the collaborations – I like that there are more photographers, makeup artists, bloggers. Hopefully this opens opportunities in fashion for everyone.
• www.madebysoka.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Facebook: madebysoka; Instagram: @officiallysoka
Duo Collection, British Virgin Islands
Designer: Nadia Winter
What’s hot for 2018? Bold colours, lots of sparkle, revealing fabrics in sophisticated cuts, overcharged florals against polka dots. And bell bottoms are back!
Style inspirations: Elie Saab. I love the way he turns simple designs into pieces of art.
What inspired your latest collection? I created prints that tell a story about my cultural heritage in a fashionable way, that reflect our Caribbean culture, with clean and flowing cuts.
What are some of your favourite pieces? The two-piece Cuffy print and the Stacy, a one-piece bodysuit and a long flowing wrap skirt.
What excites you about fashion in the Caribbean right now? The Caribbean is full of rich culture and bold colours; I’m excited by the explosion of colours in every aspect of fashion.
• www.duocollection.co; email@example.com; Facebook: @duocollection.co; Instagram: @duo_collection
E.N.V.E, St Vincent & the Grenadines
Designer: Rachel Bailey
What’s hot for 2018? Print mixing, unusual patterns, post minimalism, head-to-toe floral, bright whites, neons – fun! There will be innovative fashion, with designers tapping into their inner Picasso. Also, the mainstreaming of vegan clothing made from all-natural plant-based fibres.
Style inspirations: Rihanna, Lupita Nyong’o, Gigi and Isabella Hadid.
What inspired your latest collection? Kolorkromatic was inspired by my love for colour, bold prints and monochromatic stripes. I wanted to create a fashionable fusion between these components.
What are some of your favourite pieces? The white infinity ruffle netting blouse with floral beading appliqué and the maxi dresses, which are flattering on almost every body type.
What excites you about fashion in the Caribbean right now? I’m excited to see how our designers use new trends to create collections with a more Caribbean flair, while maintaining their individual identity.
• firstname.lastname@example.org; Facebook: ENVE/Rachel Bailey; Instagram: @_e.n.v.e_; Shop: 1st floor Y D Lima Building, Kingstown
Trèfle Inc, British Virgin Islands
Designer: Kristin Frazer
What’s hot for 2018? A burst of print combinations and contrasting colours.
Style inspirations: My mother, and life in the Caribbean in the late 1980s/early 1990s.
What inspired your latest collection? My new collection for the tenth anniversary of Trèfle will launch in early 2018. With my last collection, e.v.o (eccentric.versus.original), I wanted to excite everyone with a mix of bold prints and colours.
What are some of your favourite pieces? My effortless Kaci dress, which can be worn front to back and back to front.
What excites you about fashion in the Caribbean right now? It’s always great seeing new and fresh designs coming out of the tropics.
• www.trefledesigns.com; email@example.com; Facebook: trefledesigns; Instagram: @trefledesigns; Shop: 281 Waterfront Dr, Road Town Tortola, BVI