Playing on the concept that a young lady is expected to dress appropriately and not wear such revealing clothing out in public, as a grandmother might advise, Shannon flipped the adjective’s meaning, creating an acronym whereby E.V.I.L. now represents Evolved. Vivacious. Innovative. Lucky. So much for the theory that shorts indeed are evil for any designer/pattern-maker who has ever had to cut and fit a pair! Shannon laughs and admits that it makes sense considering the painstaking process of not only constructing a pair of shorts, but also in trying to build and promote a brand from scratch.
The concept of the pop-up boutique is a widely spreading one, with Shannon being one of the first – if not the first – in Trinidad to test the concept. Available at the Meiling boutique in Woodbrook, Port-of-Spain, courtesy of mentor and designer Meiling Esau, from June to August 2011, Shannon believes that this mini-venture is just as significant as any other design venture with more long-term plans.
‘The challenges are the same,’ she explains, ‘from communicating with others and explaining my vision exactly how I wanted it to financing and deadlines. There are the sleepless nights, etcetera, etcetera and the list goes on! I guess shorts really are evil!’
Shannon chose the pop-up boutique format for her line from the start, liking the idea of ‘Here today. Gone tomorrow’, which is reflective of many a trend in fashion. Considering the specific nature of the product as well as the time limit on Shannon’s stay in Trinidad, it makes a lot of sense to use the pop-up boutique as a way of testing the water from a marketing perspective, so to speak. She is not by any means rejecting the idea of allowing the brand to flourish and grow into something more permanent depending on its success however, which is good news considering the amount of attention that Shorts Are E.V.I.L. has already garnered in the local fashion media.
The shorts themselves are whimsical and very recognizable. Made of tapestry and upholstery fabrics with elements of decoration such as flower detailing, handmade labels and interesting buttons, one can see the influence of having lived and studied abroad in Shannon’s design aesthetic, which is a refreshing change from the white cotton, hand painting and appliqué stereotype of Caribbean fashion. Even more out-of-box for the Caribbean line of design thought is the silent fashion movie ‘Misery Loves Company’ that accompanies the collection, starring top local models (and sisters) Kimi See Tai and Lisa See Tai.
Encouraged and supported by Meiling herself, Shannon acknowledges that she ‘could not have done it without her – emotionally, physically and on so many other levels, she has been wonderful to me throughout. She has been a great role model for this entire year that I’ve spent at the studio as an intern, so I’m really grateful for that.’
In her year’s experiences as Meiling’s intern, Shannon lists working on the styling of the annual 3Canal (Trinidad’s most popular and most influential Rapso group) show over the Carnival period, as well as helping with the head-turning stage outfit for Soca royalty Fay Ann Lyons, as her most memorable, appreciating the opportunity to step out of her comfort zone of designing fashion and being able to work with performance and costume for a change.
Shannon’s immediate plans include heading back to the UK in September to complete her final year towards obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Design & Marketing at the London College of Fashion (University of the Arts London). Until then, she is focused on completing her internship experience and pop-up boutique venture, of which the public has been very receptive.
‘I will be replenishing the stock because there’s not much left right now! I have a few new styles in mind that I want to try out and the boutique will be around until August, so I’d say it’s been a fairly successful venture thus far…’
Shorts Are E.V.I.L. images courtesy Shannon Alonzo
Photographed by Mark Gellineau
Makeup by Renee ‘TheBon’ Williams
Modelled by Maya Cozier and Shanika Fernandez
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Shannon Alonzo shot by Elise Romany for CFstyle.com
Makeup by Sarah Sookraj
Background painting by Joel Lijertwood, available for purchase via goLocal:
Special thanks to Sean Annandsingh, goLocal and Joel Lijertwood