For many creatives growing up on an island, dreaming of showcasing their work at one of the most extensive showings of fashion and beauty in the world is a far-fetched idea that’s difficult in an environment made up of doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, and the tradition goes on and on.
As a child, I found myself going through my mother’s fashion magazines, watching the glossy pages, and wanting to create those images and content for the rest of my life. But as most young creatives, we live in a strong, academically conservative society, which produces some of the world’s most competitive academics. Still, sadly our creatives are not supported in the same manner.
My search to fulfill my creative expression has led me to Vancouver, where there is a ‘callaloo ‘of cultures that thrive on creativity, wellness, and high quality of life.
Like me, this year, a group of young creatives from Tobago, Monifa St Clair- House of Xarabii.
Daniel Clarke – Florescent black, Andrew John Smith, Precision Tailoring, and Nedra Waldron- Nedra Fashions, who took the leap of faith and showcased their works at NY Fashion Week. The designers confirmed that the Caribbean can and is naturally positioned to produce world-class fashion designs beyond resort wear and sea island cotton.
The question for the next generation of leaders would be, how do we create the right environment to encourage our creatives to penetrate the global US3 trillion creative industries? What infrastructure and governmental support are needed to fortify our entrepreneurial and investment programs to ensure we capitalize on an almost indestructible industry, constantly innovating and riding the waves of the macro-economic environment?
But beyond those structures, how do we create a culture that values, encourages, and promotes creative expression, allowing Caribbean creatives to chart a natural path of economic diversification?
We applaud our young people for thinking outside the box and looking beyond our borders, opening their doors to the global marketplace. How we engage, harness, and monetize this young Caribbean talent before they join the migrant flight or often wither away into oblivion will be the challenge of this new millennial progressive leadership.
The Caribbean Diaspora worldwide has been eager to engage with their homeland, which the islands have welcomed as we recognize that we can increase our global positioning by simply expanding our cultural borders and engaging our people.
“You can access us online; we provide online and zoom consultations and ship anywhere, “says Andrew Smith, Owner and Lead Designer at Precision Cut Tailoring. “Covid has changed the way fashion is done in the Caribbean; we have gone more virtual and have focused on digital in terms of our operations and sales, “Smith added.
The Caribbean fashion and creative industries have realized that the Diaspora is a huge untapped potential market that has been mobilizing selling opportunities and cultural events. This year, Tobago has been setting the groundwork for both creatives and government and corporate brands to showcase their products and services through events like the Caribbean Diaspora Investment Forum and Tobago Day, hosted and organized by the Tobago Alliance Empowerment Movement (T.E.A.M).
“This year, we wanted to increase our profile and presence in the Caribbean Diaspora. Tobago is a unique little island, rich in artisanal works, novelty products, and amazingly talented artists, who have been traveling globally promoting our culture, “Dr. Jimmy Dion Toussaint, PRO T.E.A.M.