Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 19th 2015 Contents 11
Friday June 19, 2015 • Issue 181
Pauline Dennis center poses with models wearing pieces from her collection.
She's outgoing, eager for a challenge,
hardworking and very optimistic indi-
vidual and the only person who had the
'guts' to present a Plus Size Collection
as their Thesis for CAFD-UTT. She's
creative and loves doing complimentary
pieces of clothing, décor and acces-
sories which would be enjoyed and ap-
preciated. Her recently acquired
Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design, is
just one of the many important step-
ping stones to assist in her placement
in the fashion industry.
Fashion isn't just for Skinny People,
meet the talented, fabulous and ambi-
tious Ms. Paulene Dennis, who showed
that plus size fashion belongs on the run-
way as well.
KM: Why did you decide to become a
PD: I love creating garments to comple-
ment my clients; however, it's difficult to
offer my best work when clients question
its worth. There is a stigma attached to
being a 'seamstress', which I find unfair
so I chose to develop myself further with
my B.A. in Fashion Design. This study has
been a real eye-opener and allows me to
raise the bar for myself and demand a
greater appreciation for my craft. But, I
honestly believe if it's a seamstress or a
fashion designer creating a piece, once it's
an original, it deserves an original price.
KM: Did you face any challenges during
PD: The program at Caribbean Academy
of Fashion and Design at The University
of Trinidad and Tobago was in fact very
challenging! The workload was very in-
tense; it tested me on all levels: creativity,
patience, endurance, open mindedness,
tactics, a keen eye, passion and so much
more. Each area is necessary, however,
for the field of fashion.
KM: What is your favourite part about
being a fashion designer?
PD: The sky is the limit! You can do any-
thing for anyone, anywhere in fashion!
KM: For your thesis collection, what
were your inspirations?
My inspiration was actually the full-fig-
ured woman. I wanted to give her a
unique outlook on how she can dress, and
while I love soft, flowing and simple maxi
dresses, they're already available. So I
went brave and pulled from the intrica-
cies of the Elizabethan gowns, which
were very heavily-corseted gowns with
rich and intricate embellishments. These
details I interpreted with fabric manipula-
tions, such as smocking (on the reverse),
patchwork, spiral pleating, gathers and
cording. To keep the garments modern
and wearable, I utilized the silhouette of
the 60s which also gives a comfortable
yet sexy look.
KM: How did you select the materials
PD: Selecting my materials proved a bit
more challenging than expected. I wanted
to provide both structure and elegance in
my collection, so I looked for both hard
and soft textures. For colour, I wanted
something bold and rich, with a little sub-
tlety so I chose lime green, a muted pur-
ple and black as my main colours.
However, I mostly wanted to offer com-
fort, thus I selected from knitted and
KM: What kind of feedback did you get
on the collection?
PD: Thus far, I have received numerous
compliments, words of encouragements
and appreciation for my choice in pre-
senting a full-figured collection and what
I did with it. People are impressed with
the quality of my work and are curious to
see what's next.
KM: You not only design for the average
size person, but the plus size as well.
Why? Any challenges?
PD: Before I started my studies at CAFD-
UTT I had a moderately-sized clien-
tele, most of which were full-figured
women. This meant I was already accus-
tomed working with the 'full figure' with-
out realizing the extent at which it was a
niche market. Thus, it seemed only natu-
ral for me to make it my focus, not to
mention, I've never liked following the
crowd. With reference to challenges, it
may seem strange, but I honestly don't
see any significant difference compared
to the average-sized client.
KM: What do you want to see more of
in our Fashion Industry?
PD: It may not be that much 'in' the fash-
ion industry, as to 'for' the fashion indus-
try. I would say more awareness of the
fashion industry and its ability to create
income. I believe this will raise the sense
of appreciation for the craft and increase
the support for it.
KM: How or why are you different from
the other designers?
PD: Details do not deter me, they actually
excite me! So when there is a challenge
from which everyone else may shy away,
I would more than likely be the one to
charge in. This would not be because I al-
ready know how to do it, but actually be-
cause I don't. I would see it as an
opportunity to grow.
KM: Have you worked with anyone or
would like to work with someone and
PD: I have not had the privilege of work-
ing with anyone as yet, and I honestly
couldn't say who I would like to work
with. I know I still have a lot to learn
about the industry and getting to work
with any designer, local or foreign would
indeed be an honour.
KM: Who inspires you the most in fash-
ion? Who stands out in your opinion?
PD: I have always admired the diversifica-
tion of Jennifer Lopez. The fact that her
brand is inspired by her own curves
makes it real and that's what inspires me.
People creating something that's needed,
KM: What are your plans for the fu-
ture? Where do you see yourself in five
PD: Well, other than further developing
my brand, I have always loved teaching,
so I'm presently looking into that. In five
years' time, I am hoping to have my brand
secured and looking at going interna-
tional, if not before.
KM: Any advice for someone who is in-
terested in becoming a fashion de-
PD: Be open minded, the industry has
more to offer than you probably realise.
Also, if you can't take criticism, reconsider
your options or take a class or two, so
you can be prepared.
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