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rated with copycats who can make simple clothing fast, sell it on Facebook, and collect money cash
on their mother’s doorstep Friday night. That is fashion? This peddler style, snow cone vendor men-
tality? Everyone is riding this “shop local” wave. The ride must come to an end sometime.
Have you ever tried to do business with a Trinidadian designer? God bless you. There has never
existed a less organised group of people in the world. No line sheets. No brand message. No logos
(No proper logos I should say). No consideration of time. No commitment. No direction. No compa-
ny registration. No timelines. No imagery. No clue. No apology. They don’t care about their business-
es. They are egotistical and entitled. Don’t get me started on the communication! Please, if we are
not close friends, do not reply to my email with WhatsApp.
They say “Support local”. What do I hear?
“Locally made.” – “I sew it last night just for this pop up. I get the cloth cheap in town. For you,
“They’re one of a kind.”– “I make 10 dress in all. Doh mind the sweat and makeup stain from the
“New collection coming soon.” – “Next week I will make 10 different ones.”
*”I only do custom-made.” – “I don’t believe in this business enough to invest more money than half-
yard of cloth’s worth at a time. So it will take 5 weeks for you to collect this vest.”
“I need a 50% deposit first to secure the order.” – “I will take 3 weeks longer than promised. But I
know yuh not going nowhere and I could ignore all your calls from now until Thy Kingdom Come
because I have yuh money so yuh still going to buy my badly made dress anyway.”
“Girl, I am so busy.” – “I reach. You didn’t see my Instagram followers? I don’t have time to sew. I
have snaps to do.”
I urge you, if you are not 100% invested in the growth of an industry; if fashion is your hobby and
not your passion, please stop suffocating the others who have put everything on the line to make it
work. Trinidad’s fashion industry will, without a doubt, collapse if we continue this unprofessional
approach. We shot up very fast and we can fall with the same momentum. If we continue this way,
I doubt we will even see another year. I am very worried, and if you have the kind of passion that I
am hoping you do, then you should be worried, too.
Let us focus less on “local” and more on “quality”. I mean quality experience, service and product.
Let’s start getting a comprehensive and standardised system in place. I know it’s hard when all
these fly-by-nights jumping up in the dance with their pseudo fashion and people start grouping
you as one. Fight for it. Prove your worth. Sell your unique story. Sell beautiful pieces. Sell things
that people need and want. I encourage shoppers to buy clothing not because it is local, but
because it was made ethically and is of supreme quality and value to you. Time to start weeding
out the distractions before it is too late.
I definitely want to start focusing on the solutions, but first let us distinguish the true fashion
brands from the rest. To do my part, I am working to make sure that NoMoreFashionVictims.com
showcases only good quality pieces, not just from our region, but from small businesses worldwide.
What are you going to do to help?
*Some designers’ models will require only custom pieces. Active wear designers do not need to do
As a fashion stylist and owner of online department store NoMoreFashionVictims.com, which
sells exclusively Caribbean and Latin American brands, Stephanie Ramlogan observes the chal-
lenges, risks and triumphs of our designers, creatives and followers. Reach her at stephanier-
amlogan.com or email@example.com.
By Stephanie Ramlogan
I’m going to say all the things that I’m not supposed to, but I will because it’s
my blog and I can say whatever I want. I might come across like I hate the
country that has nurtured me for 28 years, but don’t be confused. I always
want what is best for this nation. I don’t want to be anywhere else, so I want
my home to be perfect.
From my observation, 2013 marked the beginning of our most recent fashion
revolution. This was the first time that I saw a significant number of people
showing interest in locally made garments. Trinis tend to think that anything
local is inferior. We snub local music, local education, fashion, men, movies ... you
name it. The only thing local that we love is doubles. To see people seek out
Adrian Foster and J. Angelique was an encouraging time.
I, too, was sceptical. I hardly owned any clothes from Trinidad. I wouldn’t even
shop in retail boutiques that sold imported clothing. I much preferred to wait to
go to Miami and buy cheap clothes from Charlotte Russe and Papaya that
would end up in a charity bin in a month. What sold me on her? She had an
I had my first custom-made dress done in a couple short weeks, quickly fol-
lowed by more and more. I couldn’t go back to Bebe after that. Of course, I was-
n’t the only one taking notice. One by one, new “designers” started popping up.
Designers, why are you working in fashion?
I don’t think that the majority of designers truly know why they are doing this... .
I lie. They think it will bring them fame and money. Well, only if Likes were dol-
Passion should be reason number one. I’m not talking about when you spot a
young sexy fellow in Zen ... I am talking about PASSION. The kind of desire you
have that drives you to give up everything. How many fashion makers in
Trinidad have passion?
If you don’t have a website, you aren’t passionate enough. If you don’t have a
business plan, you aren’t passionate enough. If you don’t have a specific target
audience, a brand story, or a 5-year plan — then what the hell are you doing? I
know what you’re saying in your head: “What that have to do with creating? I
have passion! You only studying the money side. I love to sew.”
Fashion is a business.
They go hand in hand. If your business is not in order, then you are making
clothes, not fashion. When I say “fashion”, I am referring to the BUSINESS of
clothing and its accessories. You could be the most talented craftsman, and be
creating fantastic masterpieces, but if you cannot identify your market and you
aren’t making significant connections and sales, then this is not fashion. On the
flip side, you could be making ugly burlap T-shirts, but if people in some far
away land can’t get enough of them and you find yourself getting regular
wholesale requests from boutiques there, (and you are efficiently able to com-
municate with them and fulfil requests) then that is what I mean by business.
There is no shame in making clothes.
This is one of the MAJOR misconceptions from which we have been suffering.
The ability to construct high quality clothing is an art. It is a skill that can best
be learned only from immense experience, a good eye, and the immeasurable
talent of a steady hand and a patient mind. I definitely cannot do this. I respect
and admire all who can.
But we don’t want to be no seamstress. Seamstress doh have Facebook ads.
Seamstress doh get invited to Prime for Vodka launch. Seamstress name doh
get call when people on red carpet. However, let me tell you,
seamstresses/manufacturers have more opportunities for business and can
make more money than any “designer” we have here.
Because we prefer high status over steady income, our tiny island is now satu-
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