POP-UP markets have become a popular alternative for many in TT. Local artisans and designers sell their products at these markets but the covid19 pandemic has halted many of them.
However, Port of Spain Fashion Week (POSFW) has partnered with Fashion TT and WiPay to host an online pop-up shop and charity auction to aid designers and artisans. It will be held on June 6 and 13 from 12 pm-4 pm on FashionTT’s GoTo Meeting platform.
A media release said many small businesses are facing “unprecedented challenges” during the pandemic. Even as the country reopens, for many of these small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), business is still uncertain.
“As such, the team at Port of Spain Fashion Week (POSFW) has embarked upon a number of initiatives through its shop local campaign to help our local designers and artisans recover from the negative impact of covid19,” it said.
Crystal Cunningham, media liaison for POSFW said many of the pop-ups – which take place quarterly – were cancelled.
“We felt the need to support the designers who would have supported the POSFW’s fashion market last year. So this was our way of giving back to them and giving them the opportunity to try to at least push off the excess stock they would have had on their hands,” she said.
Many of these artisans and designers earn their income from these pop-up markets.
The decision to host the online pop-up shop was twofold – to bring the pop-up shops to people online instead and provide a platform for the designers and artisans to earn some income.
“The reality is we do not know when we might be able to have a pop-up shop again. Probably not until September,” Cunningham said.
Although she was not saying that a pop-up shop was not possible before that, Cunningham said with physical distancing protocols in place it might be difficult to do so before September.
However, there is also a wider reason for hosting the online pop-up shop, keeping money within the TT economy.
“How do you do that? We have to support our local artisans, our local designers and our local producers. Even if you are buying pepper sauce, make it a local brand because in order for us to rebuild right now the money has to stay here.”
The organisation also hosted webinars leading up to the online pop-up to keep the morale of the designers high.
This Saturday, nine designers will be hosted. “The first online pop up shop will feature Afrocessories, Aya Styler, De Jeunesse, Nwannia, Rack.pdh, Ray Candles and Scents, Rosemary Botanicals, Ryan Chan and Sarafina Fashion Collection,” the release said. There will also be nine designers on June 13.
Each designer will speak for 15 minutes about themselves and their brand before showcasing their products.
Cunningham said each window will be a digital shop front, displaying all of the designers' products. People will be able to directly message the designer. Once an item is purchased and the designer receives payment through WiPay, the designer will then arrange to have it delivered to the customer.
"Each designer has graciously agreed to donate an item from their collection for the charity auction. The sales from these items will go towards covid19 relief efforts,” the release also said.
The organisation has also received positive feedback from artisans and is looking to host an event “once or twice a month, depending on how things go with the economy.”
The organisation is also preparing a beauty box. The POSFW Fashion-Q Beauty Box will have a “collection of some of TT's best natural beauty brands like Aviare Body Oils, BU Skin Treats, De Jeunesse, Ray Candles and Scents, Rosemary Botanicals and The Organic Essence,” the release said. The beauty box will promote local beauty brands.