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Five UTT graduates chosen for Fashion Week
The first graduating class in the bachelor of fine arts fashion design programme from the University of T&T’s (UTT) Caribbean Academy of Fashion Design (CAFD) has the tools to help develop a well-constituted fashion industry for T&T, now that they are certified, says Sandra Carr, fashion design programme leader at the institution.
“They would be the fashion think-tank of the industry. We know at the end of the day not all of them are going to be designers, but we have people that will work in the field. We have wonderful illustrators. We have people that are strong in the construction. We have good pattern makers and we have good designers. Together, they can make it work. We have encouraged them from day one to stick together as a team,” she said.
On June 23, 37 students graduated from the programme at a gala exhibition and graduation held at the National Academy for the Performing Arts, located on Frederick Street, Port-of-Spain. Now, five of them have been assigned places in this year’s staging of Fashion Week T&T (FWTT), scheduled to take place from October 22 to 28, said Anthony Rahael, chairman of the event. The production will start in Tobago.
At present, Carr said, there was too much individualism among established designers and the UTT faculty was determined to prevent the newly-graduated industry professionals from falling victim to this insular culture. “As a matter of fact, that’s what’s killing the industry. We are really pushing and supporting the young blood.
They are going to go out there and put aside whatever petty differences they might have and they are going to make it work. I want teamwork to be a core value among the first batch of graduating students. We have encouraged them to form the CAFD Alumni so they would come back and be a cohesive group,” said Carr.
“Since our students have been there (UTT) for the past four years, they have learnt the ins and outs of what is a fashion industry. Not just the design courses, but the management of a design industry. What we hope is these students that are leaving would pave the way for the younger designers; that they would establish a foundation in term of a well-formed industry.
“Right now we really don’t have an industry in T&T. You hear designers complain that they can’t even get things manufactured in T&T. That’s a big thing. It’s not like New York where you can go on a fashion avenue, a fashion district and get anything and everything related to fashion. That’s what we need here. We have a level of creativity that is unmatched anywhere in the world.”
Carr said UTT lecturers took comfort in the fact that the graduating class not only has the spunk, but also the tenacity to help constitute the industry and become bona fide practitioners. She underscored the need for the industry to be revolutionised and urged past pupils to stick to the aesthetics and the discipline they had learnt.
Carr said, “Every designer must be inspired by a concept. There must be cohesiveness. More and more as we see shows (and) we see the designers move away from that. It’s hit and miss! But that is not what makes a good designer’s collection.
There has to be a theme that they were inspired by and they have to continue to do research. A designer can’t just pop things out of their heads. There are things that inspire a designer. We push our students to continue to be inspired and to keep doing research.”
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