When I got into this business of fashion, two mentors of mine (non fashion) talked to me about the true and deep meaning of my work, and what I hoped to achieve with NMFV. On the surface, I wanted people to be more open with clothes. I wanted to see art in the way we dress. I felt like it was my small part to help probe the conversations about style and pushing the boundaries of the conventional jeans and tees that comprised my own UWI wardrobe. Deeper than that? I didn’t really know. It would be years before I realised how much more this has all meant to me and my readers and clients. Now, I care so much about the environmental impact of the industry. I am an advocate for slow fashion and practising ethics in the process, from design conception to delivery. Cruelty free brands are on my mind. At the top of my priority list is the woman. All women by every definition. I NEED to know that she feels empowered. Clothing for a long time has been used to hide, vilify, categorise, stereotype, ridicule, and define us. I need to know that what I put out there into internet-land, helps women feel empowered in their clothes. I want you to wear what makes you feel like you; the best version of you, defined by your own terms.
Fashion can be a cold world, but I am proud to say that I have met some truly remarkable women of style. For a while, I did feel like I was a part of a problem; working in an industry that creates so much social anxiety and self hate, but women like these, remind me that you can be a genuine soul and look like a Rock god doing it.
I’ve written about Emma a couple times before, because well, she’s fucking amazing. And I do not use that word loosely. I mean it when I say I am amazed by her. First of all, she has managed to find the 25th hour in the day. Still, she has not managed to find a minute for herself. She is a giver. She runs several social media accounts, works with Turtle Warrior; a brilliant initiative by Nature Seekers to provide clean beaches for nesting turtles by creating and selling recycled glass jewellery, brought us Rackedtt, runs Racked Studios, is a fantastic stylist, and gives her whole self to each thing. She selflessly wants to help true creative find their place in the world. I asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday this month, and essentially, she wanted to give. She is stunningly beautiful, down to earth, thoughtful, considerate, hard working, talented and vegetarian. I had to squeeze that in there. I am proud to call her my friend. Her style is mostly sort of Boho, with her love for oversized dusters and kaftans, sandals and watercolour tropical prints, but she could also often be seen in dark over sized shades with a tank top, fitted jeans and a black blazer draped over her shoulders. She is a former ethical fashion blogger, with her love for thrift shops and unique finds. She adores clothing and really invests in artistic pieces that speak to her. She wears a phenomenal Jade Drakes robot ring almost everyday. Her sweet mixed up accent carries her story, with hints of English, Australian, Guyanese and Trini. I love when she says Trini things. Emma is wonderful and I just want the world to know her.
Gigi once told me that how she feels about me can be a bit SwimFan-ish! Well that makes both of us, because I adore her. Gigi is a beam of light from Barbados. She has taken the selfie game through the roof, with her IG posts of three, featuring stunning head-to-toe looks in a boss of a curated page. Her style is daring and in your face. She seems to have a bit of a boot obsession. Strong featured, toned and sexy, she could be a model in a heartbeat, but she is a stylist. How hot is is when your woman can cut your hair? I want her to shave my head so bad. The best part is, every morning she does a story on her IG called “Wake up to wisdom”, a sort of Podcast style segment where she boosts your day with inspiring words and positive messages. She once talked about a poem from my book! Very exciting. She talked about how we sometimes we get into relationships we know that aren’t healthy, and provided an engaging discourse basically on why we do this shit and why we need to stop. Gigi is the type of woman who will never pass up the opportunity to compliment a sister. She loves uplifting others. Our relationship has been solely virtual so far (that will change because I am going to go to Barbados and find her!) but she definitely is a friend. Some people just have great vibes.
Speaking of great vibes, Sanian just radiates. I am in awe of her everything. Sanian is the designer behind Sanianitos accessories, most famously known for her statement sunglasses, covered in gems, hand painting, fairy dust, complete eco systems, you name it. Sanian is another gorgeous woman with an equally beautiful heart. She believes in people and in speaking out about her passions. We have had near-to-tears conversations about race and Caribbean culture. Sani is so full of truth. With a smile as wide as the horizon, and legs as long as my whole body, she has modelled for Meiling several times. This is a designer you can almost always spot her in. She carries clothing effortlessly. Her style is fiercely Caribbean. She wears a mix of Trinbagonian designers with pride. She also works with The Lost Tribe; so that gives her 10 extra points.