Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 12th 2014 Contents B38
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt October 12, 2014
From its inception, Coco Velvet International
Fashion & Model Management’s mission has been
“to establish Port-of-Spain as the Caribbean’s fash-
Founded by Christopher Nathan and Parisian-born
fashion manager Christel Von Heuck in 1997, Coco
Velvet has introduced many projects and industry
development initiatives over the years.
Next they will host Caribbean Resort Styleweek
Port-of-Spain, which will be held at the Trinidad
Country Club, Port-of-Spain, on November 2.
The event is being positioned as T&T’s annual
fashion week; Coco Velvet aims to establish Port-
of-Spain as the resort wear capital of the world.
Resort wear is clothing designed to be worn
on vacation, especially in tropical areas.
“It’s grand and ambitious, but I think
it is possible,” said Nathan in an inter-
view with the Sunday Arts Section.
“Places like Sao Paolo and Tel Aviv are
the swimwear capitals of the world.
As you know, haute couture is Paris,
avant garde is London, but there
isn’t right now a resort wear capital
of the world. Everyone is doing
resort wear all over the place.”
Nathan also feels that there is a
need to establish a fashion trade
show to replace Fashion Week T&T
From the early 90s T&T has strug-
gled to maintain a consistent fashion
event at which local designers can be
featured and to which interested inter-
national buyers can attend.
The first fashion week hosted in T&T
was Colour Me Caribbean, which was
launched in 1990 and ran for three
years. Fashion editor Rosemary Stone
pioneered the event in collaboration
with the Trinidad Express; it took place
at Queen’s Hall and the Hilton.
In September 2006 Coco Velvet in-
augurated its Makin’ Style event at
Queen’s Hall. At the time, Nathan en-
visaged this event as the official fash-
ion week of T&T. The annual event
continued until 2010, with several
added features such as the Tobago Top
Model and T&T Top Model events.
In 2008 Stone was invited to collab-
orate with Dianne Hunt of Radical De-
signs to create Fashion Week T&T
(FWTT), which took place at Adam
Smith Square in Woodbrook. Subse-
quently, FWTT made its home at the
Hyatt Regency for two more years and
was a highly anticipated and well at-
From 2008–2010 both Coco Velvet’s
Makin’ Style and FWTT were in opera-
tion. Makin’ Style bowed out.
“At the time, our management team
felt that there was not enough room
for two major fashion week events
around the same time, in a small mar-
ket like T&T,” said Nathan. “So we gave
in and we decided to discontinue
Makin’ Style to allow FWTT to flourish.
Lo and behold, FWTT crashed after
that same year.”
In a 2012 Guardian interview, then
chairman of FWTT Anthony Rahael
confirmed that approval had been
given to host the show from the Min-
istry of Planning and the Ministry of
Trade and Industry with assistance
from the T&T Coalition of Services In-
He cited difficulties with gaining
sponsorship as the main cause of the
event’s absence in 2011. FWTT has not
taken place since.
Other initiatives in the interim include
Tobago Fashion Weekend, begun in 2011
and continued annually; and Trinidad
Lookbook’s Style Spirit Fashion Week-
end, which ran in 2012 and 2014.
FASHION WEEKS IN T&T
(see sidebar). The fashion infrastructure that the
industry needed is finally coming together, in his
“A solid fashion foundation has been put in place
to make fashion showcasing relevant again because
fashion trade shows are about business generation—
and not just for entertainment as we are accus-
tomed to in T&T.”
On November 2, Caribbean Resort Styleweek
Port-of-Spain will focus exclusively on resort wear
and will capitalise on the fashion industry’s most
important season, Christmas/ Carnival, when it is
estimated that the highest volume of locally
designed merchandise is sold.
Caribbean Resort Styleweek Port-of-Spain will
include two showcases, the first at 4 pm for new
and emerging designers, and the second at 8 pm for
established and master designers. The latter include
Meiling, Heather Jones International, Claudia Pegus
Designs and Pilar by Anya Ayoung Chee. New and
emerging designers in the former showcase include
Rhion Romany, Aisling Camps, Adrian Foster and
Van der Vlugt.
Styleweek will also honour master designers
Meiling Esau, Heather Jones and Claudia Pegus with
Fashion Industry Pioneer Awards for their contribu-
tions to fashion industry development in the
The runway show’s cast will include foreign- and
locally-based T&T models, as well as graduates of
the Coco Velvet professional fashion model work-
shop, held this year at Nalis.
Participating designers will launch their 2015
fashion collections to an audience which will
include fashion conscious patrons, media personnel,
boutique buyers, fashion retailers and stylists.
“I want to say, however,” Nathan cautioned, “that
T&T on its own will make little impact on the
world fashion market. I have been proposing to the
government for some time that we should attempt
to consolidate the fashion industries around the
Caribbean into one brand: Caribbean Resort, with
Port-of-Spain as its fashion capital.”
Caribbean Resort Styleweek is presented by the
Ministry of the Arts & Multiculturalism, BGTT,
Vidal Sassoon, Gary Jordan Photography and Nalis.
Nathan’s hopes are high that the event will develop
and gain buy-in from more financial supporters so
that his dream of Port-of-Spain as resort wear cap-
ital of the world will materialise.
A design by HOJ Resort Wear.
PHOTO COURTESY GARY JORDAN
Another fashion week comes to town
A Heather Jones
MODEL: KRISTY ST ROSE.
NATHAN. PHOTO COURTESY
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