Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 25th 2015 Contents By Roslyn Carrington
"MY GOAL IS TO BE a fashion designer," explains
Tobye Gill, "but right now I am into costume design."
Apart from her sections in three major bands, Gill also
has more than one swimsuit line, and creates custom-
made Monday wear.
The Monday wear idea, once considered fringe, has
been growing like a vine over the past few years, as
more and more people opt to come up with their own
spin on their costume and save the main oeuvre for
"On Carnival Monday, people want to be unique, to
have something nobody else has. They want to stand
out." As such, she supplies her eager customers with
beaded wire bras, bikinis, tiaras, collars, even custom-
made decorative backpacks. "They wear any other
colour besides that of their costume, so they look dif-
ferent on Tuesday." The demand is so overwhelming
--- 50 hand-made pieces, as opposed to last year's 20
--- that she has long stopped taking orders for this
year. "People have been messaging me, even from the
US. There are too many emails even to go through."
As for her costumes, she has a slate of clients that
would make designers twice her age jealous, designing
one section each for Passion, Bliss, and Ivan Kalicharan.
Her desire to design came a few years earlier, when,
as a student of Naparima Girls' High School, she de-
cided to make a Carnival costume for her creative art
project, putting it together from bits and pieces she
found at home.
She was invited by a friend to be on the committee
for Passion, in 2013, the year of its formation. Thus
began a whirl of activity in which she learned as she
went along, meeting with vendors, wire-benders, and
other skilled workers. "We were all over Port of Spain,
now starting to learn about Carnival."
That assignment blossomed into requests for designs
for Ivan Kalicharan, who had allowed her to do her in-
ternship while she was completing her CAPE; and
Bliss, encouraged by her brother, Nicholas Gill, who is
with Air Committee and Tribe. This demanding work-
load is unusual, in a culture where designing for more
than one band is rare. The risk has been worth it for
the bandleaders: some of her frontline costumes have
sold out, while others are doing very well.
Gill is enthusiastically encouraged by her mother, Judy
Gill, a former Harts die-hard, who jumped ship in order
to support her daughter. She thanks God, her family,
teachers and friends for all their support. Of course,
she can't leave out her boyfriend of 5 years, Kafton
She is at the moment working on building her portfolio
in preparation for pursuing a degree in clothing design.
Her dream college is the Savannah College of Art and
Design (SCAD). Given her academic record, which in-
cludes prizes and trophies in school, she should find it
easy to get in wherever she desires.
In the meantime, she continues looking for ideas and
seeing what's out there. "I'm obsessed with looking at
clothes online. I love colour. I love to mix prints. When
I am doing research, I look for things that people
haven't done before. If it doesn't stand out for me, it's
not going to stand out for anyone else."
Her obsession translates into her strong work ethic.
"When I start a piece, I don't want to eat. I will work
until I finish. I'll work until seven in the morning. If I'm
not happy with something, I can't sleep, because my
brain is constantly thinking about how to fix it."
This attention to her work builds on a sense of entre-
preneurship that she has inculcated from an early age.
As a child attending Savonetta Private School, she
began making bead jewellery, which she sold for $5.
Even when she raised the price to $10, her items still
Her swimsuit line, Tobye, is being carried in boutiques
like Koral Beach, while others like Bikini Cabana and En
Vogue have asked her to do lines for them. Come Car-
nival Tuesday, she will have to perform a real balancing
act, wearing her costumes in both Passion and Bliss.
"I want to be loyal to both bands."
Gill cites Anya Ayoung Chee as her source of inspira-
tion. "I've always wanted to do fashion design, and ever
since Project Runway, I want to be a brand ambassa-
dor for Trinidad, like her."
| PROFLIES |
January 25, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
WOW MAGAZINE | 5
Tobye Gill's Carnival section designs:
2014 - "Carpe Diem" - Passion Carnival | 2015 - "Red Indians" - Passion Carnival
2015 - "Sandstorm" - Ivan Kalicharan | 2015 - "Blue Lagoon" - Bliss
When I am
doing research, I
look for things
before. If it
out for me, it's
not going to
stand out for
Links Archive January 24th 2015 January 26th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page