Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 18th 2015 Contents A29
• Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
Caribbean people have an undeni-
able sense of style. We define our-
selves through dress, and love to
look unique and distinctive, whether it s hip
casual wear, professional working clothes,
African or Indian-inspired outfits, or
Caribbean fusion fashion. Talented seam-
stresses, tailors and entrepreneurial business
folk have long been part of the T&T fashion
scene. As early as the 1920s, for instance,
there was a shirt factory, and since post-
Emancipation times, self-taught dressmak-
ers created stylish, personalised clothes on
a small scale.
But when exactly do small cottage busi-
nesses become an industry? Has T&T ever
truly had a fashion industry?
T&T certainly has talented designers, as
successful local designer boutiques demon-
strate. We once had a thriving and profitable,
but now largely defunct, garment manufac-
turing sector, in the 60s, 70s and 80s, which
made shirts, trousers, dresses, underwear and
uniforms, both for the local market and for
export, as documented by fashion writer
Rosemary Stone in her 2011 book A Spirited
Butterfly, on the history of fashion in T&T.
So at one time, you could walk into a local
store and buy a well-made local garment at
a reasonable price. That rarely happens any-
Since the 1991 dismantling of the protec-
tionist tax and duty concessions of the Neg-
ative List, paving the way for free trade, T&T
has seen the rise of many businessmen who
don t create any local fashion, but who are
adept at importing and selling cheaply import-
ed (and often cheaply made) clothes from
China, Indonesia, India and other places.
These swamp local stores.
Today, new technologies have expanded
and transformed not only the way people
can now design textiles and make clothes,
but also how fashion is marketed and sold:
just about any garment or accessory can be
ordered through the Internet.
Many questions arise when we look at the
local fashion sector. For instance:
• If we re trying to make more profits from
the fashion sector, do we do this by encour-
aging better local design, or ramping up mass
manufacturing, or both?
• Should we reintroduce some protection-
ism for embryonic local fashion businesses,
or focus on improving their competitiveness?
• What new technologies should we be
embracing to help in design, production and
• How can we best compete against cheap,
plentiful Chinese products?
To help arrive at some answers, the T&T
Guardian talked to Jason Lindsay about some
of these issues.
In 2012, Lindsay was the VP of development
planning and management at InvesTT. His
role there was to help diversify the economy.
While he was at InvestTT, he was appointed
chair of a Ministry of Trade committee called
the Fashion Industry Development Committee
(FIDC), charged with developing a strategic
plan and feasibility study for the fashion
Here is what Jason Lindsay had to say.
Do we have a fashion industry?
What do you mean by a fashion
industry? There are people who have
invested their lives in fashion,
throughout the country. So really, if you con-
sider their time and effort, to say there s no
industry would basically be flushing that
effort down the drain. Indigenous production
can allow people to carry on a business and
raise their family. A fashion industry exists,
albeit at an embryonic level.
To move from what exists, to what people
commonly consider an industry, there s a lot
to be done.
People look at industry not so much as
entrepreneurs surviving, but when there s
significant export revenue coming from it;
when it has a brand that is known interna-
tionally. People normally associate industry
with international trade and recognition.
Continues on Page A30
Part 1: FashionTT poised to act
THE STATE AND THE ARTS:
A look at our creative sector
The Government says it will help develop
the creative sector as one of several ways
to diversify the economy from its current
focus on hydrocarbon revenues.
It has defined "creative industries" as
including eight sectors: music, film, fashion,
performing arts (dance, theatre) and visual
arts, broadcasting, literature and
publishing, and heritage and festivals
Of these, three sectors---music, film and
fashion---are receiving special attention
through the company CreativeTT, formed
by the State in June 2013 to oversee the
State's development of these areas, to
make them more profitable. The T&T
Guardian starts a series today on these
Today we start with the fashion sector.
The Business of Fashion---Part 1 is an
interview with Jason Lindsay. He is chair of
FashionTT, the state subsidiary created a
year ago to help develop T&T's fashion
sector. Lindsay is also chair of the Fashion
Association of T&T (FATT), representing
stakeholders. The Business of Fashion---
Part 2 will look at the views of some
Jason Lindsay, chair of FashionTT, the state subsidiary mandated to help develop T&T's
fashion sector, and also chair of the Fashion Association of T&T, representing many
stakeholders. Lindsay is a development economist who's trying to help fashion businesses
survive, thrive and earn more foreign exchange. PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
Actress and media magnate
Oprah Winfrey is selling
antique furniture, paintings,
prints, ceramics and memora-
bilia from her Chicago apart-
ment next month to benefit her
education foundation, the auc-
tion house running the sale
said on Tuesday.
The 571 lots in the Chicago
sale on April 25 are mostly from
her downtown condominium.
Leslie Hindman Auctioneers said
proceeds from the auction will
go to The Oprah Winfrey Lead-
ership Academy Foundation,
which supports her education
academy for girls in South
Africa. The top lot in the sale is
expected to a painting by Amer-
ican Impressionist artist Richard
Miller called Nude in Red Robe,
which has a pre-sale estimate
of US$80,000 to US$120,000.
Various other paintings are
expected to sell in the
US$20,000 to US$40,000
range. Estimates for the total
one-day sale and the complete
catalog were not immediately
Potential buyers can also place
bids online. (Reuters)
Oprah Winfrey to auction contents from Chicago apartment
Links Archive March 17th 2015 March 19th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page