With her new collection set to launch on November 17th CFSTYLE.com talks to designer Meiling Esau.
Who is Meiling?
A designer who continues to strive for excellence.
How did you start in designing?
I was literally born into it. My mother was one of Trinidad’s premier custom dress makers and it was in her sewing room I spent my childhood days. She had a small staff of seamstresses and I grew up surrounded by bolts of cloth, the whirring sounds of Singer sewing machines and watching my mother measure and fit her clients.
What sets your designs apart from others in the industry?
Every designer has his/her own signature and mine is minimal, with close attention to detail and cut. My clothes are designed to show off the woman and not the other way around. Although the style initially appears clean and simple, as one looks at the pieces, you will discover little gems such as inserts of faggoting, smocking and beading.
You have won a national award for your contribution to design in Trinidad
and Tobago, how does that feel? Honoured and blessed to be recognized in my field.
We read recently that you do not think that media in Trinidad and Tobago
respect what you do. Why do you think so?
Few understand my motto in design: less is more.
Meiling continues to be a Caribbean icon at CFW, how do such events help
I get attention from the Caribbean and international media but the most positive experience from the Caribbean fashion shows is the opportunity to network with designers throughout the region. I am very impressed by the wealth of talent from all the islands and I look forward to collaborations.
What are your thoughts on women’s clothing in the Caribbean?
At present women have much more choice in terms of local designers who thrive to give them a unique look suited to the caribbean.
What inspired you to produce the M squared line with Micles?
I was very fortunate when Calvin French the photographer introduced me to the owner of Micles with whom I collaborated on the line. I thought it was wonderful to do an affordable line that was good quality to women in T&T, especially as it would allow me to reach a larger market.
What should we hope to see from Meiling in 5 years time?
That’s a long time from now, but I am open to all possibilities. I welcome collaborations with new upcoming designers and also established houses, but for sure I’ll still be around producing at a higher standard.
What are your hopes for the local and regional fashion industry?
With the advent of UTT Fashion Academy, there’ll be many more young designers which will make industry more vibrant and more choices will become available.
What words of advice do you have for aspiring designers who look to you as
an icon and want to build a brand as strong as yours?
Fashion is not about glamour, it’s many hours of hard work and you’re only as good as the last collection you produced.