Colorful Clothes in Paradise: Fashion in the Caribbean

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Fashion reigns in the islands of the Caribbean for the summer season, with Style Week in Jamaica, Kreyol Fashion Days in Guadeloupe, Caribbean Fashion Week, and BVI Summer Sizzle, the summer will not be short on style.

At the start of the month, Guadeloupe hosted Kreyol Fashion Days, which is described as the first Caribbean fashion and design forum. It is a meeting place for designers, models, and photographers to share their work and ideas.

More recently, fashion lovers, critiques, photographers, models, and designers descended upon Jamaica for Caribbean Fashion Week 2015. The event began on June 6 and concluded on June 15, which meant daring, colorful style was rampant on the streets of Kingston: loud in-your-face accessories, fashion bloggers, hot and tempting swimsuits, creative designers, and endless models. These events and the atmosphere created by them have made for an interesting start to summer.

Here are eight designers who were among the many who ruled the runway at Kreyol Fashion Days in Guadeloupe or Caribbean Fashion Week in Jamaica, some of whom managed to do both.

9Cedella Marley

Photo Courtesy of Cedella Marley

Jamaica

The Marley name alone is itself a powerhouse that includes albums, coffee, books, films, and clothing. While we are all aware of the high caliber of work produced by the family, they still manage to shock us every time. Cedella Marley debuted her highly anticipated Harambe line at Caribbean Fashion Week 2015 and did exactly that. A tribute to her mother, Harambe expressed the rich colors and asymmetric designs of her love of the spirit of Africa.

8Fiona Compton

Photo Courtesy of Wavemaker Photography

St. Lucia

St. Lucian photographer, filmmaker, and visual creative turned fashion designer – Fiona Compton – excited the crowd with her Paradise Prints collection. She translates her heritage into her designs with vivid colors, and delicate flower patterns. Her Iyanola Collection honors her island home, incorporates perfectly chic island wear, and features textures and designs from the Taino people.

7Krystel Markos

Photo Courtesy of Bob Thimo

Martinique

Krystel Markos incorporates a modern, chic aesthetic into her design style. Participating in both Kreyol Fashion Days and Caribbean Fashion Week, Markos demonstrated her versatility and originality. Her dramatic pieces include sexy swimwear, dashing blazers, and patterned trousers.

6Eliette Lesuperbe

Photo Courtesy of Eliette Lesuperbe

Guadeloupe

Guadeloupean designer, Eliette Lesuperbe, certainly has a great understanding of a woman’s body, as all her designs are feminine and elegant. Her dresses had show stopping flare with long, sheer trains streaming behind at Kreyol Fashion Days. She also specializes in crafting wedding dresses that are sure to make any bride feel beautiful and confident on her special day.

5Claudia Pegus

Photo Courtesy of Claudia Pegus

Trinidad & Tobago

It is impossible to discuss Caribbean fashion without discussing Trinidad and the impact it has and is making. Early designers like Meiling and Claudia Pegus have solidified their place as style and fashion influencers. Pegus’ line – Nostalgia – was influenced by the final exam given to students at the Trinidad & Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute. Pegus has a natural eye for lines and details and perfectly crafts her clothing to fit a woman’s shape.

4Ashley Martin

Photo Courtesy of Gavin Beckford

Jamaica

Attitude by Ashley Martin is a collection true to its name. The line is a bevy of bold, colorful patterns and shapes. Her career in fashion began after years of being a powerful vocalist and entertainment coordinator in Jamaica. Her creative genius and desire for taking risks is heavily illustrated in her clothing. She was Avant Garde Designer of the Year in 2011 for her glass dress, and the only designer to be featured on the finale of Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model in 2013.

3Robert Young

Photo Courtesy of Robert Young via Hermès Patrick

Trinidad & Tobago

Made in Trinidad – that is part of the aesthetic of fashion house – The Cloth – by Robert Young. An essential component in Caribbean fashion since 1986, Young, his work is as much about activism and social revolution as it is about fashion. His work is a true reflection of Caribbean culture, history, and tradition and truly diversifies fashion.

2Jean Marc Benoit

Photo Courtesy of Jean Marc Benoit via Philippe Tirolien

Guadeloupe

A well-established designer from Guadeloupe, Jean Marc Benoit’s designs exhibit the bright, uninhibited aspects of fashion. He unveiled his collection – Défilé Allure– at Kreyol Fashion Days 2015, and it was a passionate display of all things striking, opulent, graceful, and red. The clothing commands attention and involves the spicy, flirty spirit of his island.

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