THE Caribbean Fashion Showroom is now open for business online. Featuring designers from across the CARIFORUM, the Caribbean Fashion Showroom is poised to become the online place to find Caribbean designers and purchase online.
An initiative of the Caribbean Export Development Agency in collaboration with the European Union, the Caribbean Fashion Showroom has been taken to international trade shows since March this year and is now accessible online with the launch of its online shop.
“The launch of the online shop is new for Caribbean Export as we look to move forward with the market demands. We recognise that both buyers and consumers find new products and services online and whilst we know that face to face business is still very important for trade, we want to be able to complement this with an online presence” explained Allyson Francis – Services Specialist at Caribbean Export.
Presenting designers from across the region, the Caribbean Fashion Showroom was initially placed in the heart of the international fashion industry in Los Angeles, United States where buyers were able to view samples of products during Market Week at the showroom location. Debuting in the Caribbean at this years’ CARIFESTA XIV the Caribbean Fashion Showroom was a significant inclusion in the Fashion District at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago last month.
Sandra Carr, Fashion Programme Leader and Senior Instructor at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) stressed the importance of the Caribbean Fashion Showroom, “the fashion showroom is important because it gives designers visibility and helps them to gain recognition in other markets”.
Carr also led a 10-day fashion accelerator programme in July at UTT which was co-funded by Caribbean Export and the Caribbean Development Bank which enabled 20 designers to build their capacity in the business side of the fashion industry as well as improve their technical ability to produce goods at the quality expected at the international level.
“The collaborative project with Caribbean Export, CDB and UTT focused on refinement of products designed to build capacity and fill the gaps of designers. Current industry best practices were highlighted to refine quality, with the focus on generating sustainable sources of revenue and foreign exchange. The Caribbean Fashion Showroom at Carifesta XIV was evidence that it had met the objective, as many visitors were impressed by the display and insisted on more information on designers.”
Over the coming months Caribbean Export plans to continue supporting the development of designers with a range of interventions that include business coaching and mentoring.
“The success of the online shop is really dependent on the designers that are part of it as they have to have their own online presence. Whilst we can provide a platform for buyers and consumers to find all things Caribbean fashion ultimately it’s down to the designers to ‘close the deal’ and we are working with them through our accelerator programme in collaboration with UTT to ensure their pricing is correct, their technical skills are on par and that they are armed with what is necessary for the business of fashion,” concluded Francis.