Cool Cool Cotton

Photographer Harold Prieto captures the work of some radical young Caribbean designers

  • Stitched shift styling, with hillhouse, mandir and jungle motifs, by The Cloth Homework Alpha
  • Sky-blue cotton chambray dresses by Radical Designs
  • Two-toned double-breasted lounger by Radical Designs, in rayon twill with 100% cotton shirt and floral print tie
  • Black graphic appliques on tunic dress, top and baggy pants, skirt and shorts, by The Cloth Homework Alpha
  • Cotton challis dresses hand-patterned in hummingbird colours by Coryatt Designs
  • From the popular Tunic Line by The Cloth Homework Alpha
  • From the popular Tunic Line by The Cloth Homework Alpha
  • Marina blue two-piece linen suit with 100% cotton shirt and viscose tie; sky-blue cotton chambray shirt and top. From Radical Designs
  • Dress-up four-button cadet jacket and lean-line pants in black benqalene, with 100% cotton T-shirt, from Radical Designs
  • Marina blue two-piece linen suit with 100% cotton shirt and viscose tie; sky-blue cotton chambray shirt and top. From Radical Designs
  • Hand-coloured cotton challis sunsuits by Coryatt Designs
  • Sundress and two-piece pants suit from Coryatt Designs. Photograph by Harold Prieto

Airy cottons, sunbright colours- these are the hallmarks of many young Caribbean designers. The three design houses featured here are based in Trinidad and Tobago; they enjoy an enthusiastic following at home and are beginning to receive recognition through a growing export market in the Caribbean islands and beyond. Full of new ideas about what constitutes island style, these young operators bring a typically Caribbean gusto and élan to the look and cut of island apparel.

The Cloth Homework Alpha Co. is a collaboration between designers Robert Young and Denise Carew. They produce a highly successful tunic line decorated with statements and images ranging from protest to support, from print to stitch-on applique. Other lines include The Cloth Child, with distinctive cuts and applique collage treatments scaled down to offspring sizes, and Speak Public, clothes whose design content confronts or comments on public issues. 8 Haven Park, Maracas St Joseph, Trinidad and Tobago, tel. 809-663-5241, fax 809-625-7826; outlets in Trinidad, Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica, Toronto.

Coryatt Designs is the creation of Lucille Coryatt: chic island silhouettes and styles, sunsuits and cruisewear cuts, are usually armless, cool and loosely gathered. Favoured fabrics include natural fibre blends, cotton rayons, challis and voiles, and they are often treated with festive floral colours with an emphasis on striking handpainted prints and soft flowing fabrics. Available at The Cotton Spot, Devenish Street, Arima, Trinidad and Tobago. Also in Port of Spain, Tobago, Barbados, St Lucia and Grenada.

Dianne Hunt, trained in Montreal, operates Radical Designs, which is about creative “now” clothing: structured styles, hand-finished stitchwork, high-quality finish and fine fabrics. The clean, tailored look appeals to a broad range of contemporary taste. Kapok Hotel, St Clair, Port of Spain, tel. 809-628-5693; Valpark Shopping Plaza, Valpark, Trinidad and Tobago, tel. 809-662-3542. Outlets in Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua, Barbados, Grenada and Caracas.

Photography by Harold Prieto

Location: Moon Over Bourbon Street, West Mall, Westmoorings, Trinidad (open 5 p.m. to midnight Tuesday-Sunday)