The University of TT in collaboration with the Caribbean Export Development Agency, the Caribbean Development Bank and the Cultural & Creative Industries Innovation Fund brought fashion designers from all over the region to TT. The designers participated in a course which facilitated strengthening ties among the driving forces of the creative industry of the region.
The two-week project, which came to an end on Friday, sought to help the designers gain a wider range of creative approaches — reinforcing what they would have made part of their practice while giving them tips and tools for effective trade and export of their products.
The programme also sought to strengthen collaboration among some of the region's dominant young fashion designers from TT, Grenada, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, St Lucia and Tortola, to name a few.
Speaking at the closing ceremony at UTT, John Donaldson campus, Port of Spain, Barbados-based services specialist at Caribbean Export Development Allyson Francis said the creative industry is an important sector for Caribbean Export. “We have been doing work in this sector for years. The focus for this year is the creative industry with emphasis on fashion, music, animation and film.”
She said this fashion accelerator programme was formed with the intention of giving the artists that finishing touch for marketing their products within the region and beyond. She said when considering export, the first thought is shipping products to the US and Europe. However, Francis said the intention is to encourage the first step being export within the Caribbean — trading products within the region, supporting regional development through integration.
TT-based designer Daniel Clarke, owner of the band Florescent Black, said even though it was an intense program, he learnt more about the strength of collaboration and the ability of that to take the industry further.
Barbados-based designer Melanie Thorpe said she learnt more approaches for fine tuning the ethos of her brand as she seeks to embark on a global market.
Jamaica-based owner of ASD Ayanna Dixon said the program was empowering as it reinforced what she already knew, while redirecting her focus in building a more robust brand.
Francis said, “I hope that through their networking, the designers will come together to show the world even more of what the Caribbean as a whole has to offer to the world of fashion.”