We know the struggle all too well – you desperately want to join the #BuyLocal movement but aren’t too sure where and how to get your hands on locally made apparel and accessories. Fear not! This guide will help you get your bearings on which brick and mortar locations house creations from some of our most talented local designers. In the future #SearchF1rst using the keyword ‘buylocal’. Get those credit cards ready, we sense some retail therapy on the horizon.
Anyone looking for swimswuits from Trinidadian designs needn’t look any further than Nix Pixx located in Carolina Court in Boissiere. This trendy, fashion forward boutique stocks Brazilian born but T&T raised designer Chandra Maharaj’s sexy, colourful suits. If fun and flirty is more your speed, they also carry Miami-based IndieSwim, which boasts lots of playful prints and unique cuts. If you’re lucky, you can also get your hands on the Mood Swings line by renowned Carnival costume designer Sandra Hordatt.
If you’re a lover of the finer things in life then you’ll probably want to hit up The Gallery in Long Circular Mall. There you’ll find exquisite fine jewelry from local jewelry designers Rachel Ross and Josanne Mark. Ross is better known for her hammered, ornately textured statement pieces while Mark’s most recent collection comprises of gold and silver electroformed natural objects like leaves.
If you’re looking for elegant jewelry, but perhaps less pricy, be sure to check out one of Maison de Fifi’s two locations in West Mall and Long Circular Mall. There you’ll find work from Koko Karibi Designs – a local label that specializes in minimalist but beautifully detailed pieces that range from statement to everyday simplicity. Maison Fifi also carries Sew Lisa with her breezy cottons and fresh twists on brocade, and Wadada Movement maxi skirts and crop tops – the perfect ensemble for today’s Earth Child.
Lovers of cute, quirky styles like Cocoa Vintage’s resin and clay creations should definitely pay a visit to Rainy Days, located in Ellerslie Plaza. This quaint little shop is a treasure trove of local art, coffee, preserves and crafts.
Of all the local designer haunts, Meiling’s 6 Carlos location is probably the best-known of them all. There she carries not only her own garments, but clothing from affiliate apparel designer Zidelle and menswear designer Anthony Reid, as well as accessories by Rachel Ross and bohemian label Sanianitos. Meiling often hosts themed Pop Up Shops at 6 Carlos, so keep an eye out for exclusive designer collaborations and collections. Head there to purchase something off the rack or for a one on one consultation with the designer herself.
If it’s a sleek pantsuit or a chic frock you’re after, then you’ll want to head across to #55 Gallus Street, where Charu Lochan Dass recently opened the doors of her fabulous CLD Boutique. Stocked ceiling to floor with the designer’s contemporary, modern and feminine looks, you’re sure to find something you love here. Charu also recently added bridal wear to her repertoire so brides-to-be should make a note to pop in for a consultation.
A skip and a hop across to the sister isle and you’ll find yourself at Kaj Designs’ newly opened boutique at the Buccoo Integrated Facility. This intimate space is a great place to find not only Kaj’s luxurious but understated line of kaftans, dresses and separates, but also jewellery by Koko Karibi Designs.
Here’s another for the sister isle – Peeping Fish surf shop offers up utilitarian but chic zip cases using unique, and sometimes vintage, fabrics from around the world by local label Hopson Park. Also in store you’ll find the cutest ESPjr onesies and tees for the special baby or toddler in your life. Pick from lots of adorable and totally local prints including the leatherback turtle, snow cones and the blue crab.
This gem in The Hotel Normandie is pretty new, so don’t feel bad you’ve never heard of it. According to local apparel designer Lisa Gittens of Sew Lisa, who stocks her kids’ line there, The Shop is full of ONLY locally produced items, which range from soaps and sunglasses to honey and herbs. Which makes it the super spot on our list!
It was with a heavy heart that we learned of the temporary closing down of Vamp Boutique on Mucurapo Road, since Vamp has been home to quite a few local designers over the years. However, there’s a pretty big silver lining since here local creatives – knitwear designer, Aisling Camps, jewelery designer, Laura Michele Gomes and visual artist, Ashley Thompson – will be taking over the boutique from this weekend and dubbing it ‘The Coterie’. Every weekend for the next three months, the doors to The Coterie will open and prospective customers can snap up works of art from these three visionaries and any guest designers who may be on show from time to time.
Now you can’t say you don’t know where to go with so many options. And, as we were publishing this blog, a brand spankin’ new retail option opened up in the Cruise Ship Complex called, ‘Blue Basin’. According to the store’s own press release, it’s a fashion retail department store concept solely devoted to Caribbean fashion and design. They carry Amara Organics, Immortelle Beauty, RGG Clothing, Lush Kingdom, Sew Lisa and Lisa’s Fabrics.
It was a keen appreciation for all things local that prompted Ceola to begin documenting her exploration of the artisanal and creative landscape here in Trinidad & Tobago. Her blog deals mainly with fashion, event and food options throughout the island, punctuated ever so often with more general beauty, tech and personal style posts. She’s a fantastic resource for finding special items that are locally made – be it apparel, accessories, food or homewares – or for discovering new and exciting specialty events. Follow her blog www.ceolabelix.wordpress.com and her Instagram and Twitter @CeolaB for more day-to-day shenanigans.