Where Style & Vibes Meet: Caribbean Fashion 101

The Caribbean is a region of tiny islands surrounding the Caribbean sea.  The islands are a melting pot of diverse peoples- African, Chinese, Indian, European-brought together through a common history. This fusion has resulted in a collection of mouth watering dishes, beautiful artwork and fashion that flawlessly reflects the culture and vibe of the people. It really doesn’t hurt that the hot climate makes you want to parade around in the least amount of layers and beach throws are acceptable forms of clothing to a number of places. Caribbean designers seem to draw inspiration from the region’s color palette. They also utilize patterns reminiscent of the ancestry of the people. Pieces are flowy, moving with the breeze; while others are risqué, forcing those who wear them to be comfortable in their own skin .

With her victory on the 9th season of Project Runway , Trinidadian designer Anya Ayoung-Chee brought Caribbean fashion to the international spotlight. Her accent, style and vibes captivated viewers each week. Since PR, she’s gone on to design a few collections, numerous carnival costumes and open a store in Trinidad that also features other creatives from the island.

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Stella Jean, a Haitian-Italian fashion designer, effortlessly combines various fabrics, patterns and prints. In her designs she pairs her Haitian heritage with a more structured and tailored European style.

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Cayman Islands design collective Isy B is not your typical Caribbean fashion line. The lines are clean and the fabrics used are heavier, but the Caribbean influence is still evident.

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Ochun Fashion design based in the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe has a gorgeous combination of vivid colors and patterns as well as exquisite jewelry pieces.

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I fell in love with ShopShari’s gorgeous accessories through Instagram. At the time, carnival season was in full swing and it seemed like everyone had one of her statement necklaces, which are a combination of a multitude of patterns of material. These pieces are bold, colorful and are definitely meant to be worn without anything that rivals them.

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Adrian Foster’s maxi skirts demand attention. I discovered Adrian Foster’s designs on Instagram and instantly fell in love with the colour and construct of his pieces. When my sister received one of his maxi skirts for Christmas, I was super jelly.  Foster’s pieces are well tailored and his palette ranges from bright colors to monochromatic black and white garments.

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Michelle Ford is a freelance writer and aspiring architect. Born and raised in Georgetown Guyana, Ford currently resides in Florida where she is pursuing a Masters of Architecture at the University of South Florida. Having traveled the Caribbean extensively, Ford has also interviewed some the brightest up and coming talent on the Caribbean design scene.  To read more, visit her website. Besides writing, her hobbies include photography and interior design. Love you Michelle! #islandmuseapproved

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