The first ever Tobago Fashion Weekend (TFW) was held in the last weekend of May 2011, hosted by Designers United Stores. The team effort of Ashley Christmas, Jason Arthur, Meisha Trim and Dunstan De Noon allowed for an exceptional inaugural presentation despite the adversity of a limited time period in terms of preparation. Though faced with its share of hiccups which could very well have derailed the production, the event was extremely successful, proving that it has every potential to become one of the premier Caribbean fashion showcases, particularly due to location.
Hosted on Pigeon Point beach, the set up of tent and runway stood squarely on the shore. The ambiance was perfectly set with the welcome flags and bar area providing a wonderful entrance.
NIGHTS ONE & TWO- Friday & Saturday
Friday night was an evening of cocktails and a preview of pieces to be shown on the catwalk in the following two evenings. The late start on Saturday night did not go unnoticed, as the six repetitions of an audio track was somewhat unnerving. However, the fashion-loving crowd did not seem to mind the delay, but it must be mentioned for future reference if TFW is to rank as one of the top Caribbean fashion events. Despite this setback, the use of the national instrument – the steelpan – was fully appreciated and displayed continued support of the twin island republic’s culture.
The production itself ran smoothly once it began, with the Caribbean Academy of Fashion Design (CAFD) opening the show. Pieces we recently viewed at the Designer Critic Awards at NAPA were once again on display in their full glory.
A collection most worthy of mention on the opening night was Hak Gwai by Lori-Antoinette Williams, which was a very well-put-together presentation considering that the budding designer has only been doing this for seven months! It even earned her a salute from well-respected Trinidadian veteran designer Meiling Esau, who was present to support the event as the head of the Fashion Association of Trinidad & Tobago (FATT). The Hak Gwai collection most certainly did ‘Cut Ah Dash’ and we are excited for this fresh, young talent.
THE CLOTH brought its consistently sensible design aesthetic to the table, and in this 25th year of design for the head of the label – Robert Young – THE CLOTH continues to be a force to be reckoned with in Caribbean fashion.
Francis Hendy brought life to the party with bright summer colour and interesting looks for both male and female customers, with well-tailored jackets that caught our eye.
Deron Attzs’ collection tied in well with the Tobago environment using brown earthy tones.
Christian Boucaud was on top of her game with this collection, offering up a cohesive and consistent selection, perfectly highlighted with African printed fabrics in some pieces, thus expanding on her range and versatility as a designer. We were not disappointed.
Zadd & Eastman closed the show with a palette of black and tie-dye done in rich, dark colours, which still depicted the essence of the Caribbean. There were definitely a few pieces in the collection that would be welcome in any wardrobe.
NIGHT THREE – Sunday
Time posed a challenge yet again on Sunday, but the show flowed once it commenced. Mrs. Toppin, Minister of Tobago Affairs, was a front row guest at this event and we sincerely hope that local government support for this venture continues.
Children’s line GEOPA opened this night’s show, generating a great deal of excitement within the crowd. The young child models executed their walks perfectly, enticing the crowd with how adorable they looked and how professionally they behaved on the catwalk.
Gerard Perry brought an interesting mix with his tie-dye collection. There were some great pieces for both beachwear and occasionwear.
The Bajan female designer duo of Pink Lemonade opened their presentation with a show-stopping black ensemble, which certainly grabbed the crowd’s attention. The designers themselves graced the stage looking like models, dogs in hand.
St. Vincent powerhouse designer Kimya Glasgow did not disappoint, revamping some of her jackets, which would bring an element of fun and variety to any wardrobe. This collection was also perfectly styled, with dramatic floppy hats, which looked sensational.
The Chiz*l menswear line showcased a selection of underwear and continues to be a crowd favourite for the ladies in the audience.
British sensation Romero Bryan closed the show with a line that proved that creativity is essential in becoming a top international designer. The wide following that he has garnered in his career speaks volumes with regards to his worth as one of the best in young fashion.
In conclusion, the fact remains that fashion is a business. The TFW committee has managed to successfully nail some of the fundamentals with regards to this. We look forward to seeing a full house and an assortment of buyers at next year’s events so that designers may have the opportunity to generate increased income. Tobago has every potential to become a major fashion powerhouse with these ingredients and is off to a wonderful start, having procured some great talent in terms of designers, both regional and international, appropriate models as well as local and international media crews, live event streaming and fashion media outlets.
CFstyle gives congratulations to all involved in the development of a truly successful fashion weekend.
Be sure to stay tuned for our designer galleries, including the Editor’s Picks of TFW 2011