Six aspiring Barbadian fashion designers will be participating in the Caribbean Market Centre’s Fashion Accelerator Programme, along with designers from St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad. The programme is facilitated by the Caribbean Export Development Agency.
Local designers Tyreke Nedd, Carla Gittens, Katrina Brathwaite, Alyssa Goddard, Mikyle Gibbons and Tia Olton are a part of a select regional group being prepared for the international market, with a focus on improving access to market and on facilitating the implementation of a go-to market strategy.
Senior Business Development Officer (SBDO) with the National Cultural Foundation (NCF), Andre Hoyte, underscored the importance of the organisation’s support for these six designers as he zeroed in on the shared objectives of this specific accelerator programme as compared to that of the model already in use by the Foundation for its Barbados Fashion Capsule project.
The early stages of the capsule project include testing the products in the
international market, making the necessary adjustments based on feedback from those market interventions and then re-entering the market with a stronger product for sale. Hoyte noted, “Through the expertise of renowned fashion tutor Sandra Carr, we can be assured that the Fashion Accelerator programme will aid in achieving this common goal, strengthening the products in the key areas of design, fabric choice, finishing and packaging which are all crucial components for successful testing in the international markets.”
As part of its export strategy for creative products, the NCF has also been working closely with a small group of fashion designers on the Barbados Fashion Capsule project to get them into the international market.
In speaking about the project the NCF SBDO remarked that from as early as the first quarter of the financial year, the Foundation tested fashion and accessory products in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New York and based on that feedback, adjustments were made which allowed the designers to re-enter the market in July 2019 showcasing to retailers and distributors at “Colombiamoda,” the largest fashion trade event in Latin America & the Caribbean.
According to Hoyte the results were great and some of the designers are now producing work based on orders received there, that will now be in markets where over 60 million consumers exist. He used this example to highlight the benefits of supporting these six designers in the Accelerator programme.
As part of the Fashion Capsule, there will be a Fashion Festival on Friday October 25th and Saturday October 26th at the Hilton Barbados. The NCF will be hosting a Shopping Party on the 26th which is expected to feature Capsule Collections from the six designers in the Accelerator Programme, as well as the other local designers in the Capsule project CandiFab by Candi Nicholls; YenDor World by Rodney Powers;
Sweetheart Sandals by Toni Thorne; RTS by Gregg Williams; Avark; Exclusive Cottons; Lester Welch; Pauline Bellamy and Samuel Gittens.
In addition, the NCF in association with the Caribbean Market Centre will be hosting a Business to Business (B2B) session and Concept Storage Development Workshop with the Columbian Fashion Company Makeno for local designers from October 31st to November 1st, 2019.
The Caribbean Market Centre is designed to support the successful development of fashion entrepreneurial companies through the provision of a range of business support resources and services. Key elements housed within the centre include designer showroom, seminars or workshops, fashion and trade shows, and various other events aimed at facilitating networking among industry practitioners.