“When you send positive energy out to the universe, it comes back to you,” says designer Marlon George.
It’s the philosophy that has underpinned George’s success over his 15 years in local fashion.
It is also the thinking behind his plan to build his business by establishing deep roots on the international circuit.
The owner of DAWW (Distinguished Attitude When Wearing) Creations, a popular men’s wear brand synonymous with style and class, George has set a five-year time frame to fulfil his latest project.
He said while his work has been featured in New York Fashion Week and other shows in North America and the Caribbean, there was still much work to be done in promoting his pieces as a truly international brand.
“My drive now is to carry it to that point,” George, 41, told Sunday Newsday.
“My aim is to at least get celebrities to wear my designs so that I can take my work to the next level.”
Having already won the hearts of a mature clientèle, George is targeting millennials in his latest effort.
“I am looking at clients in North America, Europe, anywhere I can get a showing.”
Specifically, he wants to promote bespoke garments among a younger generation.
“The old school guys know a bit about it but the next generation has not been gravitating to it as they should.”
George described bespoke tailoring as predominantly hand-crafted work, the opposite of commercial tailoring, which is assembled on the sewing machine.
“I believe I could attract customers interested in bespoke tailoring from all over the world.”
Once he becomes firmly entrenched on the international scene, George said, the sky’s the limit.
He said his vision is to become the country’s leading fashion house.
“Right now, I am training a team that can actually take the work forward.”
With a focus primarily on urban couture blended with modern, Caribbean tones and textures, George’s brand was a stand-out at Leve-Global’s Love Is In The Air extravaganza at Villa Being, Arnos Vale, Tobago, recently.
His models, decked in mostly formal, slim-fit suits in a variety of styles and colours, were a crowd pleaser, particularly with the women.
The dreadlocked George also showed his trendy side, wearing a pair of turquoise shorts, matching flats and patterned shirt.
Of his second appearance at the lifestyle event, George told Sunday Newsday: “I am really one of those guys who really connects with the urban environment.”
George said he has always been inclined to business.
As a boy, he recalled “bargaining” with the other youths in his Oliver Trace, Mt D’Or, neighbourhood, to get the best deals on marbles.
Later, he sold avocadoes at the nearby San Juan market to supplement his school allowance. “I was always purchasing and reselling.”
George has successfully applied this entrepreneurial spirit to his fashion house.
His flagship store is located at 106, Eastern Main Road, Petit Bourg and a new branch was opened last November at Green Palm Hotel, 16-17 Mt Pleasant Boulevard, Bon Accord.
“The store is a walk-in store where you can get off-the-rack items,” he said of DAWW Creation’s Tobago outlet.
“But we are also getting more people coming in for consultations than walk-in customers. We are giving thanks for that. I think that was the growth for us after Leve last year.”
George learnt the rudiments of sewing and design from his late mother, Janet Kernahan.
The businessman later honed his craft at secondary school, where he became proficient in cutting, stitching and design.
“That is where the real stuff began.”
After completing school, George rose in prominence, becoming a household name in his community.
“I was sewing from the drawing room of my home in Mt D’Or and I remember plenty big boys, like Louis Lee Sing, coming to get trousers and shorts made. That was the time I realised I had to take the craft and make it into my life.”
Eager to learn, George later developed his talent at the internationally-acclaimed Seville Row Academy, United Kingdom, under the guidance of master tailor Andrew Ramroop.
George believes fashion should express one’s culture.
“I believe that my childhood added a lot to what I do now. There are a lot of things I went through that I bring out in the fashion. Basically, that is where my energy comes from.”
This, coupled with his exposure to theatre productions and Carnival presentations over the years, allowed him to develop relationships with local artistes, many of whom are his regular customers.
“Doing theatre, it was always an easy transition to outfit some of these artistes. What we do has a level of energy that makes the artistes gravitate to us.”
George’s clientele is a virtual who’s who of local entertainment. It includes 2018 Soca Monarch Voice (Aaron St Louis), Turner (Trevon Turner), Super Blue (Austin Lyons), Preedy (Akeem Chance), Rizon (Shane Gibson) and Machel Montano.
His style has also won favour with Neil "Iwer" George, Chuck Gordon (Roderick Gordon), Roy Cape and Mr Killa (Hollice Mapp) among others.
George said his designs generally target a middle class audience who “appreciate my high quality work and competitive pricing.”
But it can also easily apply to those who wish to go against the grain in search of uniqueness and elegance.
George said DAWW Creations has not felt the pinch of the economic downturn “ because things still happening".
“Although we do high fashion, we also have the ability to do corporate wear. So that keeps us balanced.”
His advice to young men desirous of entering the fashion arena: “Love the craft and stay focussed.”
He added: “Any one of them could do what I am doing now. So, I try my best to be someone that they could emulate.”