Fashion designers from Trinidad and Tobago are excited by the possibility of making a major breakthrough into the UK market following a trade mission organized by the TTCSI (T&T Coalition of Services Industries), which was funded by the ProInvest agency.
Meiling, Ecliff Elie and Heather Jones along with TTCSI’s Senior Trade Specialist Florence Louis-Edouard, traveled to the United Kingdom to promote trade and build relations from February 19th – 26th 2011 with potential UK counterparts. The purpose of the trip was to establish business relations between the local designers and potential buyers and investors. The regional delegation, which visited the UK, was composed of representatives from Barbados, St Lucia, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago and focused on promoting trade within the creative industries’ sub sectors of fashion, music and film.
"Years ago I was invited by the European Commission to the Prêt a Porter Show in Paris and started exporting just after. My hope is that this trip will also set the groundwork for Caribbean designers to present a spring/ summer collection in England” said Meiling.
"This was a very productive trade mission and well worth our time to establish working relations,” said TTCSI’s senior Trade Specialist Florence Louis-Edouard. "This mission follows our successful mission to the French Caribbean last year. Taking service providers to market and identifying new export opportunities are key components of our thrust to increase T&T’s service sector exports. This project also demonstrates TTCSI’s capacity to use its regional and international linkages to bring direct benefits to local service providers. This mission was particularly successful since the three local designers are very experienced and are already exporting some of their lines."
Ecliff Elie said upon their visit to Professor Andrew Ramroop’s (Director of Maurice Sedwell and multi-award designer from Trinidad and Tobago) Atelier on Saville Row "I was amazed when we visited the atelier. This was a real eye opener for me to take my business to the next level.”
"What makes Heather Jones is not only the quality of the garments but the fact the only natural fibers are used. In fashion they must be a marriage between you and your product. Clients must like you as a designer to buy your products. I hope to come back to the UK and show my work to potential clients” said Heather Jones.
The three local designers were grateful to the TTCSI for the opportunity and recognized the necessity to be consistent in their presentation to potential buyers. During the trip the delegation visited the London Fashion Week at Somerset House and the MODA UK show.
As part of the mission, several meetings were set up for the designers to meet potential buyers and business partners. As a result, several promising relationships have been developed and the designers have already started following up some leads.
His Excellency Garvin Nicholas, T&T High Commissioner to the UK welcomed the regional delegation at the T&T High Commission Office in London and also held a private discussion with the three local designers.