Bold, bright and beguiling! Caribbean fashion is as expressive as the region it comes from and just as captivating.
Designers can be found on every shore, from Anguilla through to Turks and Caicos, with many Caribbean creatives drawing influence from the vibrancy around them in the people, places, food, history, art, and culture that intwine to tell each island’s distinct story.
In September, four Caribbean womenswear designers, with the support of Caribbean Export and the European Union, will be given the chance to showcase their unique fashion perspective at the UK’s leading retail home, gift, and fashion marketplace – ‘Autumn Fair’.
Exhibiting at the Autumn Fair in Birmingham will give these regional fashion entrepreneurs the ideal platform to connect with influential UK, European, and international buyers and retailers who are scouting for products that stand out from the crowd.
Let’s meet the three designers who will be attending the Autumn Fair.
Theodore Elyette is a multi-award-winning designer from the Bahamas. He grew up in a creative household and started designing at just 13 years old after spending many days at his mother’s textile factory.
Theo’s brand ‘TE’ offers clothing with a free-flowing, island silhouette that is sophisticated, feminine, and modern.
Theo loves colour, texture, and print, and this comes through in his sought-after custom designs which have adorned several celebrities including British actress and singer Cynthia Erivo, Real Housewives of Atlanta stars Eva Marcille and Porsha Williams, and Destiny’s Child singer Michelle Williams.
Lauded as one of The Bahamas’ most celebrated and recognisable labels,
Theo has worked alongside some of the industry’s leading celebrity fashion stylists and has featured in Essence Magazine, Cosmopolitan Philippines, and Vogue Italia.
In 2018, Theo also made history when he became the first Bahamian designer to showcase his fashion at Buckingham Palace before a royal audience which included the Duchess of Cambridge.
Theo is a proud Bahamian and recently conceptualised a resort wear collection with local screen printer ‘Bahama Hand Prints’ which incorporates his love for his island’s joyful culture.
The retail line includes dresses, tops and trousers in floaty, comfortable fabrics, and an eye-catching blue and white print with seashells and sea turtles. All the fabric is printed using traditional methods at a factory in the Bahamas and handsewn by local people.
Kimon Baptiste-St. Rose is a self-taught Caribbean fashion designer from St Vincent and the Grenadines.
She started her award-winning line Kimmystic.Clo in 2007, when she was still working as a junior accountant. Kimon’s day job initially funded her passion but after she was made redundant in 2012, she decided to become a full-time fashion designer, and has not looked back since!
Kimon prides herself on producing custom and ready-to-wear clothing that is ‘functional, timeless, and versatile’ while exuding Caribbean chic.
Kimon’s clientele is as diverse as her inspiration, from a classy college graduate to a business professional, or a fashionable mother who is always on the go. The Kimmystic.Clo woman, Kimon says, is “comfortable in her skin and wants to be comfortable in her clothing”.
All Kimon’s designs are environmentally friendly and made from 100% cotton or 100% linen fabric. The brand is currently available to international customers online and regionally via a flagship store in St Vincent and a small network of retailers in Barbados, Saint Lucia, Antigua, Anguilla, and Jamaica.
Kimon believes her brand can become an international fashion powerhouse, but she wants to keep production facilities in St Vincent and the Grenadines to provide employment for the local population.
Loud by Afiya (also known as Loud) was officially started in 2012 by Trinidadian designer Afiya Bishop as a jewellery line before evolving into an online retail clothing brand.
Afiya always had an eye for fashion and studied Fashion Management at the University of Trinidad & Tobago. She also worked as a freelance stylist on commercial shoots and TV shows with local entertainers while maintaining her full-time role as a marketing executive.
Afiya’s clothing embraces bright colours and printed fabrics and consists of accessories, tops, pants, shorts, t-shirts, dresses, jumpers, rompers, and kaftans which are available at her boutique in Trinidad or via an e-commerce website for regional and international clients.
Appealing to the “modern-day superwoman”, Afiya describes Loud as a “female empowerment brand”, carefully crafted to make every client feel strong, confident, and fabulous, regardless of size or shape.
Afiya is always looking for new and exciting ways to build her brand including having a section in the Trinidad Carnival, pop-up shops in America, Jamaica, and Barbados, and launching an annual Afrobeats Brunch Event.
Loud’s social media presence is strongly established with over 27,000 combined followers on Facebook and Instagram. They are attracted to Afiya’s unapologetically Caribbean and African aesthetic which merges casual comfort with unmistakeable island elegance.