[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.] Kadeem Rodgers (Loop) shares a list of the top Caribbean designers “that can make you a showstopper dress.” He writes:
[. . .] Zoom parties aside, once there’s an event, Caribbean nationals will put their best foot and look forward, just because. In no particular order, here are 14 fashion designers from the Caribbean who we feel could recreate a show-stopping moment on whichever screen you may find yourself.
1 Carla Gittens, Barbados: Our first interaction with Bajan fashion designer, Carla Gittens happened through the Mission Catwalk television series. Since then, the ByCarlori designer has blossomed into one of the most sought-after designers of the region and boasts dancehall artiste Shenseea and singer Arii Lopez among her clientele.
2 Simone ‘Tasha’ Gordon, Jamaica: Afrocentric fashion designer, Simone ‘Tasha’ Gordon oftentimes makes her own fabric. When she’s not busy doling out her varying creations at fashion shows or culture fests, she’s at home making more of the things we love about T&T Fashions. These include wraps, blouses, dresses, skirts, cushions, photo frames, and earrings, among other items, made of her signature hand-dyed fabrication.
3 Jin Forde, Trinidad & Tobago: Trinidadian designer Jin Forde understands botanical prints, shapes, and the female body. Draping is the name of her game and the beautiful J Angelique pieces she conjures are as effortless as they are sophisticated.
4 Lisa ‘Neahlis’ McIntosh-Aris, Jamaica: Local celebrity hairstylist Lisa McIntosh-Aris brought her House of Neahlis firm full circle when she added a fashion design arm. ‘Neahlis’ creates hot print dresses with the woman’s form in mind — making her a favourite in the plus-sized community. Celeb clients include Vivica A Fox, Tyra Banks, and Sheryl-Lee Ralph, among others.
5 Kristin Frazer, British Virgin Islands: If you’re on Queen Bey’s radar, then you’re ultimately one to watch. From kids wear to adult swim-, and resort-wear, BVI native Kristin Frazer creates beautiful patterns and effortless pieces for all through her Trèfle Designs line.
6 Heather Jones, Trinidad & Tobago: Leave it to Trinbagonian fashion designer, Heather Jones to give you a carbon copy of the J Lo dress. Jones is versed in hand-painted watercolour prints and light airy fabric that drapes the body sensually.
7 Donovan Depass, Jamaica: Jamaican designer Donovan Depass has enjoyed a steady climb in fashion locally and overseas. The New York-based sartorialist creates pieces that are chic and elegant with an understated edge. He’s worked with fashion staples like Donna Karan, Vera Wang, and the Victoria’s Secret lingerie brand.
8 Anya Ayoung-Chee, Trinidad & Tobago: Miss Trinidad & Tobago Universe 2008 title-holder is all about Caribbean expression! While competing on season nine of Project Runway, she showcased her national pride with banging bold prints. Ayoung-Chee reels her dynamic prints into flowy kaftans, smocks, and cover-ups, too.
9 Theodore Elyett, Bahamas: Another Mission Catwalk alum, fashion designer Theodore Elyett is sure to give you a jaw-dropper. Elyett designs with precision and true craftsmanship (think: Cynthia Erivo smock from his Bloooh La La collection). Real Housewives of Atlanta star, Porsha Williams and Destiny’s Child member Michelle Williams appreciate Elyett’s fine beadwork, bright Caribbean colours and… drama!
10 Felisha Noel, Grenada: Like many of the designers on the list, Fe Noel founder Felisha Noel built her brand from the ground up. Unlike other designers, however, Noel started out in the finance industry and, on a whim, began a career in fashion that made her a popular name in the design sphere. Fe Noel loyalists include actresses Gabrielle Union and Aisha Hinds, former FLOTUS Michelle Obama, and Beyoncé.
11 Charu Lochan Dass, Trinidad & Tobago: Talk about having your work speak for itself, we saw designs from Trinbagonian designer Charu Lochan Dass in editorials before we knew the face behind the brand. Though she recently made it to our radar, we confidently express our love for CLD with these pieces.
12 Shenna Carby, Jamaica: Member of Parliament for Portland East Ann-Marie Vaz, countless Jamaican personalities, and women in corporate Jamaica would agree that fashion designer Shenna Carby’s pieces are cut-to-fit. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the typical Shenna Carby set is timeless and gives its wearer several bangs for their buck.
13 Shoma Persad, Trinidad & Tobago: Shoma has taken ruffle and pleating to another level. Her latest effort, Tropical Masquerade, is a botanists’ dream, punctuated by the ‘splendour of the Caribbean, through quintessential Trinbagonian flair’. It’s all in the print and tailoring details of these hot new designs from the Twin Island Republic.
14 Robert Young, Trinidad & Tobago: Robert Young, the founder and principal designer of the iconic Caribbean fashion brand The Cloth, captures the effortless beauty of the Twin Island Republic to the fore with every design. Young is a storyteller, who’s created a dynamic, and oftentimes minimalist representation of Trinbagonian fashion. This year, those who know join the celebrations of the storied design house which celebrates 35 years in operation.