Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 13th 2013 Contents Ceola Belix
Keisha Als...the name seems to be on the lips of every au
courant masquerader and fashionista as of late. If you've
heard her mentioned recently, chances are, it's been uttered
in conjunction with the cAnyaval shop, Anya Ayoung Chee's
recently-launched website for Carnival accessories, boots,
Monday wear and clothing.
Als was the first Monday Wear designer to be
showcased on the site, which was initially available
exclusively to masqueraders in Ayoung Chee's
2014 Tribe section Cheyenne. When the site
eventually launched to the public, all of Als'
Cheyenne Monday Wear options bore the 'Sold
Out' stamp, a sure disappointment for those
hoping to get their hands on one of the stun-
ning pink and purple creations. Luckily how-
ever, Als has a number of other Monday Wear
options available through the website, all of
which are now available for purchase.
Als first became acquainted with the
Carnival industry over eight years ago,
when she apprenticed to Carnival Queen
costume designer Paulette Alfred. Her ex-
perience eventually transitioned to the
BBF (bikini, beads and feathers) variety
of mas', and even without any formal
design background. Als has been a de-
signer for mas' band Island People for
the last two years, and designed for
Miami Carnival in 2010. Since her induc-
tion into the Carnival industry, she's been
sure to involve herself in the logistics of
the operations, assisting with distribu-
tion, production and registration in the
mas' camps she has worked in. This holis-
tic experience has given her a keen appre-
ciation for and understanding of the
industry and how it works.
She first entered the Monday Wear arena
out of a desire for separate costumes on
both Carnival Monday and Tuesday. Asked
about the proliferation of the Monday wear
trend, she shared an insightful perspective:
"Over the years my friends and I have always made
the effort to give Monday it's own identity. Carnival
Monday has created this immense niche for masquer-
aders sharing these same sentiments. Monday wear
has come a long way over the years. Gone are the days
of a tee and hot shorts.
"People spend way more money on their costumes but
are still compelled to spend more to look special on Mon-
day. I believe this is a reflection of our style evolution year
round - this conscious effort to continue representing a par-
ticular level of self-expression through clothing has found it-
self in mas'. Bottom line, women want to look as good
Monday as on Tuesday, just not in complete costume. Hence,
the demand for Monday wear."
A masquerader herself (she'll be playing in a Sandra Hor-
datt design come 2014), Als says she is most inspired by her
own needs for the two days of revelry.
"I design for the girl that works out for Carnival with her
costume as her motivation. Inspiration also comes from my
surroundings. You'd be surprised how many gorgeous colour
combinations exist in the natural environment; that everyday
influence also moves my creative energy."
True to that philosophy, Als' designs are sexy and reveal-
ing, with multiple strategically placed cutouts, feather adorn-
ments and fringe.
Monday wear by Keisha Als is priced between US$120 to
US$200; she offers ready to wear options as well as custom or-
ders. According to Als, ready to wear offers pre-made designs, not
specific to any costume, section or band, unless endorsed directly
by a designer -- like her Cheyenne pieces were by Anya Ayoung
Chee. She explains that the less elaborate versions of her ready to
wear are even suitable for party wear - presumably for the ever-
popular party cruises that dominate during Carnival and through-
out the year. On the flip side, the custom option, of course, gives
the masquerader a chance to be completely unique come Carnival
Monday. Far more collaboration takes place between the designer
and the customer for the custom piece, allowing for the perfect fit
and creative satisfaction for both parties.
Als recently announced via her electronic mailing list that her com-
plete ready to wear collection is up for grabs on thecAnyavalshop.com
and she has officially begun taking orders for custom Monday wear via
email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
6 Friday, December 13, 2013 • Issue 118
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