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Out & About // Sunday Rush

Well after the super awesome day that was Saturday, I entered into Sunday (I’ve time traveled a bit…so this refers to April 13th by the way) with some trepidation. I had around 6 articles to write and was done with all of 2, so naturally staying in bed all day with my computer on my lap seemed like the perfect plan (by the way, it was a horrible plan…all I did all day was watch TV shows with Rob and eat food). By the time 5pm rolled around I figured I should start getting ready for the evening’s escapades, primarily, the launch of Charu Lochan Dass’ new boutique and then Runway Shift hosted by Simply Runway. The only thing that excited me enough to roll out of bed was the prospect of wearing my spanking new Shannon Alonzo skirt. Seen below in my spiffy outfit:

ASOS top, Shannon Alonzo skirt, Lend & Borough bag, Steve Madden shoes and accessories by Koko Karibi, We Dream in Colour & Forever 21
ASOS top, Shannon Alonzo skirt, Lend & Borough bag, Steve Madden shoes and accessories by Koko Karibi, We Dream in Colour & Forever 21

The CLD Boutique is located at #55 Gallus Street and it was pretty well populated by the time I arrived circa 6:30pm. The store itself is really lovely and stocked ceiling to floor with all of Charu’s beautiful work. I really love how well put together it all was – though that wasn’t the least bit surprising given the designer’s tendency to be fabulous and whatnot. I definitely recommend you take a trip down to the boutique to see what’s on offer there; you won’t be disappointed.

The second event of the evening was Runway Shift – the culmination, we were told, of 9 months of preparation on the part of the participating designers. The successful designers (yes, it was a competition) would each win a 3 month rent-free space in retail outlet Simply Runway ACCENTS [edited], located in Grand Bazaar. I fully intended to just go to the pre-amble and then head home to prepare for Game of Thrones that night…but fate had other plans, and I actually did end up staying for the entire show, seated between [caution: name drops ahead] Saucy of Trinidad Carnival Diary & friend, and MUA extraordinaire Krysta Wallace. I found the brochure on my seat a tad peculiar…the one that asked me to tick ‘Like’ or ‘Do Not Like’ next to designers’ looks for the evening. I thought perhaps this was a part of the judging process, but when the winners were announced without my having to submit said brochure, I gathered I was wrong. My brochure was left largely unchecked…save for the ticks next to ‘Like’ on everything from Adrian Foster and Lisa See Tai. I’d be hard pressed to check a box with the words ‘Don’t Like’ next to a designer’s work. No one cares what I don’t like…only what I like (assuming of course that anyone cares about anything at all). That’s all they should care about anyway. Lol.  I also got a smidge confused when the first set of looks to walk down the runway were actually from Simply Runway…but I suppose one must promote oneself no? My personal perspective though, is that if we’re here for a local fashion event…it should be an event featuring local fashion…exclusively. Is that too hard line of me? I don’t know. Maybe if I owned a retail store and was hosting an event for local designers I would feel differently about it. Maybe not? No way of knowing right now. Anyway! On to the show!

The designers who presented were Lisa See Tai, Adrian Foster, Mary April, Megan Charles and Anibrook. Lisa See Tai and Adrian Foster, as I hinted (rather obviously) earlier on, were my favourites for the night. They’re both right up my alley aesthetically, and I loved Lisa’s colour palette – coral/orange, floral print and a lovely blue-grey (was it a chambray? I don’t know). I’m actually doing an awful job of describing the colour palette, but no worries, pictures will follow. Adrian’s work I had actually seen before when he launched his RST’14 collection earlier this year, but it was nice to see the pieces in action. His styling is always impeccable, and this time time he had some assistance from Pieces TT, the accessory retailer that works out of Christian Boucaud‘s boutique on Havelock Street – great ornate, bold statement necklaces that complemented Adrian’s minimalist collection nicely.

I actually took so many pictures, all of which can be seen on my Instagram account @CeolaB.  I was taking so many shots that my iPhone kinda looked at me, went ‘Wut?’ and shut down completely at some point. Technology, you fail me.

I acquired these from the photographer who shot them – Lee Tung & Thomas Studios

I would post more images from the other designers that night as well…but now WordPress seems to be in cahoots with my iPhone and they both hate me equally. Check out the links below to their collections.

Megan Charles

Anicia Brooks

Mary April Coutou

Congratulations to the winning designers by the way – Lisa See Tai, Adrian Foster and Megan Charles.

As a total aside, one of the designers who took part in the Runway Shift show, Mary April, will be hosted at Meiling’s Pop Up Shop this weekend (and hell yes to that dress in the sketch). You’re welcome.



3 responses to “Out & About // Sunday Rush”

  1. Hi Ceola,

    I truly appreciate you taking the time to publish your thoughts on Runway Shift, which has been a task on my part to get people to do…especially those who are interested in the industrial progress of all things local but particularly fashion. Your opinion is definitely valued as an on looker and more importantly as a customer. In the retail business, as I’m sure you’ve heard before or even witnessed its power, “the customer is always right!”

    In keeping with the reminiscent nature of this post, I must confess I have also been enjoying reflecting on the Runway Shift process, constantly screening for ways to improve. It’s a pity you were unable to make our boutique launch, work must have gotten the best of you as suggested in your facebook message dated June 3rd 2013, as you would have known from that point, that the space available to fashion designers is actually Simply Runway ACCENTS (a competition free environment) as oppose to Simply Runway which houses our clothing offering. Having read the project documentation that I made available to you on July 1st 2013 (9 months prior to the show), as you mentioned you would have (7 minutes after I did so), couldn’t have made this any clearer. Sometimes obvious things do slip through the cracks and so I’m grateful for this opportunity to re-emphasize that the boutique in question is Simply Runway ACCENTS.

    Continuing along memory lane, having pioneered Runway Shift, it’s safe to say that your lack of research is actually the source of your confusion. As mentioned 9 months ago, I was more than happy and willing to help you decongest your thoughts, as I know it’s quite a lot of material to take in, and I still stand by my word today :). For a matter of fact anyone who wants information on Runway shift are free to email me at candi@simplyrunway.com.

    I would like to publicly elaborate on certain aspects of Runway Shift as you have so graciously allowed me to do. Firstly, please note that I am 100% aware that this publication is your opinion, which is your right, and which I respect 100% as well. I’m simply going to state the facts about Runway Shift, simply for public awareness…from the “horse’s mouth”, if you might add.

    Bottom line is…we can’t choose everyone, financially this is not possible for our company (maybe others will join the fun and make this a reality) and unfortunately not everything is appealing to My customers, we’ve all had “bad buys” actually. However, over time, the practical application of our assumptions in entrepreneurship have afforded us predictability, within a specific niche market. Choices are necessary, competition is inevitable, those with successful businesses can understand this…actually once your living…”Survival of the Fittest”. Criteria, which was everyone’s (those who responded to my call) #1 question, was also a high priority item for Freely Allowing Designers (with their own business agendas) into our business territory…some might say we’re competing with ourselves! LOL! The point is why be so afraid of “competition”…it’s never going away, deal with it, make it work for you…that’s life!

    Secondly, in keeping with how obvious some things are..or NOT in this case, an avenue is available for clarification once you’re paying attention. At any event there are countless distractions, no one wants to listen to speeches, trust me I get that. But if it’s instructions, it’s recommended that you tune in so you don’t end up embarrassed. At the show guests / customers (they’re the same to me) were asked to give feedback. As I have been preaching, the Runway Shift show is NOT Entertainment, it is an initiative to shift Local Runway Looks to Retail…so the “normal” agenda for a fashion show was much different to one’s expectations, in Trinidad any way. I understand the room for confusion, change is difficult. It was announced however, that this was solely for data collection, agreed to by featured designers. The Buyer for Simply Runway however (Moi), decided who were the winners, naturally.

    I think you’re being way too hard on yourself though and I’m sure your followers would agree. We do care about what you don’t like. Like you said recently in conversation with James Hackett, people align themselves with bloggers, and bloggers align themselves with bloggers because their opinions present better realizations for us non-celebs. I totally agree! We connect better and trust issues are dissolved.

    Lastly, a collection from Simply Runway opened the show. Glad you caught that curved ball…or was it really curved? We’re picking up the bills that designers can’t afford, talk done. The masses don’t directly financially support local…yet…so we make use of our customer’s investments or contributions should I say to develop this aspect of the fashion industry. At FATT’s last AGM, Richard Young (then President) stated that the retailing businesses in Trinidad have been ignored as key players for local fashion integration way to long. Some of us are trying to do what should have been done a long time ago, by the more capable. What’s there to lose? Or Who’s actually losing at Runway Shift….Simply Runway Enterprises Limited. That’s too pessimistic and self centered for my liking…I look at it as Service to My Country, every little counts!

    As mentioned before, this statement is to publicly address erroneous information, Simply Runway ACCENTS, Grand Bazaar is the store you’re looking for, in this light. Thanks a mil Ceola for providing an avenue for me to address these aspects of Runway Shift. I appreciate your support and as per usual I look forward to your blogging 🙂

    Candice Baccus (Director Simply Runway Enterprises Limited)

    • I appreciate your need to clarify the erroneous statement I made about which store the successful designers would have a space in. My bad. Will add an edit so everyone knows. I also appreciate your need to defend your event and rationalise some of the choices made at said event, particularly given my now shared perspective as an attendee. Re: the competition aspect. Thanks for your thoughts on competition. I’m going to assume you’ve gotten comments on it from elsewhere because you felt the need to respond to my mentioning that this was a competition with an elaboration of your feelings about competition. That’s cool. I guess that’s what this blog is here for – opinions and thoughts and whatnot. But also facts! Facts people! And so, moving on to the fact portion of the discussion – Re: The brochure. If you were explicit in the purpose of the brochure, my apologies, the minute anyone begins to read from their phone during the introduction to any event that belongs to them, I tend to switch off mentally. This is not exclusive to you, so try not to take it personally. Social media has dulled my attention span unfortunately; and studying communications, then working in advertising, has made me a hard sell where presentation skills and my undivided attention are concerned. I’m comforted however that I was not alone in my apparent ’embarrassment’ (wut?) at not having heard the function of the ‘Like’ and ‘Don’t Like’ brochure since no one around me seemed to grasp the purpose of the brochure either, with a few persons reacting with similar confusion when the winners were announced, thinking that all this time they would be contributing to the winner’s circle. The very, very few conversations I’ve had re: the brochure after the event, yielded similar befuddlement from others…so I guess I am, at the very least, in good company in my naughty corner. Perhaps, in the future, you might consider a different method of delivery for that particular bit of information. Now that you’ve revealed that it was in fact, for ‘data collection’ I’m afraid it doesn’t make any more sense to me. Utilising a quantitative research method to collect what is in essence qualitative data seems counter-productive and counter-intuitive to me. But then, I don’t know much about the intricate inner workings of market research on the retail environment and consumer behaviour, particularly as you were trying to conduct it with that brochure. And that’s fine…I don’t have to get it; I’m totally fine with not getting it. And you’ve provided your contact information so anyone who may read this, and want to discuss it further can contact you directly on it. To make it explicitly clear however, that the winners weren’t selected via that criteria didn’t bother me at all actually, but I find it interesting now that you proclaim, obviously as well, that the winners were selected by you, because my scant recollection of the conversation we did have 9 months ago (date, time and line # to follow, definitely) you claimed to consider yourself the least qualified to select the winners yourself, and that you would be bestowing that responsibility unto those more experienced in the industry. And again, I have zero issue with you choosing the winners…it’s your event and your establishment and you certainly reserve the right to select the designers to be featured in your store based on your discretion, but please gather from this, that I’m not going to reference a 9 month old discussion/document in a blog post I’m putting up today about the actual event, because, as I thought, some details have apparently changed since then. Further to that…this blog post remains my commentary on my experience at said event, however ill-informed you perceive my recanting of said experience to be…it was not intended to be background on the initiative. Re: The Simply Runway segment of the show. I don’t know if people don’t gather that most of the time, the way I write is the way I talk, and by extension of that, the way I think. That little back and forth I had with myself about whether I, as a hypothetical retailer, would choose to send my imported clothing down the runway at an event that is marketed as one concerned with local fashion – it was actually a thing. I’m not condemning your decision to do so…and while I’m all for the sarcastic, patronising language punctuated by smiley faces to what?…dull the obvious sting of all this put in place I’m receiving, I’m sure, please believe I understood clearly why you did all of this. My unfortunate tendency is to be self-deprecating instead of blatantly critical of people and their actions…but please don’t think for a second that this actually confused me. Lol. In fact, it’s something I could have probably anticipated from the time you started promoting this project. Because, as you continue to reiterate, it was all so clear to anyone paying attention – and whether I quoted discussions and their respective time stamps or not, or really listened attentively enough to deduce what the point of that brochure was while you read earnestly from your phone about all the passion behind this venture, I understood very clearly what was happening. Re: Sharing what I don’t like – and this takes us back into opinion, not fact. Unfortunately, or fortunately, it remains my prerogative to discuss what I don’t like in the manner in which I prefer to discuss it. And that random ‘non-celeb’ remark, again I ask…wut? The only celebrities in Trinidad are bMobile endorsees #fact…making the rest of us peons. If people are coming to this blog to gain insight on what I don’t like (and I’ve never received any indication that they are)…I’m afraid they will continue to be disappointed. They are, however, free to engage me in a one on one manner about any event, experience, product, service etc that they do and do not see mentioned on this blog. Generally that’s what people do anyway, so the people who read this blog/follow my IG and Twitter posts seem to get that. Which is great. With alllllll this said (and this really is too long, jesus), I have to say the following – it was an unfortunate decision on my part to decide not to share my candid thoughts on this initiative with you back when you first asked me for them. I think, had I bothered, it would have placed a lot of this into context. In that light, IF you are still interested in hearing my unbridled comments on the Runway Shift event (because these were very much adulterated, and by no means an exhaustive commentary) I’ll be happy to share them in a private message. I’d also like to make it clear that I actually am very happy for Lisa, Adrian and Megan…I hope they benefit tremendously from the retail opportunity. And now I’m exhausted from typing and have to take a nap.

  2. Ceola,

    Once again your lack of research is the source of your confusion…to be honest it’s cool if these thoughts have become fact to you because honestly you are the only person who attended the show who has openly engaged me (willingly or unwillingly)…this is what I want, how else will there be progress. People need to know..agreed!

    Re: Choosing the winners
    There’s a process of selection. The show is just the final part. Like you remembered, in terms of experience in the local fashion scene, I do have the least. I sought advisors (some responded to my call, others didn’t)…I rolled with the ones who did, Sandra Carr and Meiling. The most critical part of the process is The Garment Critique portion (conducted by Ms Jenifer Grant). The Designers were advised on how to improve their technique to act in the capacity of a wholesaler…this is what I’m looking for, Local Wholesalers, particularly those who I connect with style wise. No need to get into the whole enchilada here, we can do that somewhere else. But that’s a key part of the project, Garment Inspections. I know I probably just opened another can of worms, we’ll chat later.

    Choosing the winners, on behalf of Simply Runway Enterprises Limited made me the best person for the job, purely because the show boiled down to aesthetics at THAT point, and basically that’s what I do best, “pick clothes that sell”. So in that light…I’m the only one qualified to do this on behalf of Simply Runway. The potential for skewed results, leaving this in the hands of the public is too risky…so we gave them a different job, just give us your opinion. This leads me into the brochure.

    Re: Brochure
    I must ask, have you ever had to purchase clothing for a company in an international arena? I noted that it really doesn’t matter to you, probably like you said, because of your lack of knowledge in this business but why I mentioned it is because this method I’ve been apart of before (for purchasing anyway, I tweeked it with the like/don’t like part). If i was designing i’d want to know how many of my looks, and which ones people Didn’t like actually…but this is not about me.

    I really believe in having a baseline to work with before condemning something. I wanted the designers to have knowledge that is exceptionally hard to acquire in this business, we’ve all blanked those numerous company surveys, in the form of data that can help, some more than others…but something to encourage progress and innovation. This way ALL featured designers walk away with something, besides marketing of course.

    I’m open to discussing alternative methods…the most I got so far was that the pictures should have been on a white background.

    Re: 9mth ref
    That was purely referenced for you to note the players involved in Runway Shift. The company name was probably the only thing that hasn’t changed over the past 9mths.

    All in all, why I bothered to read your blog, was for data acquisition. I still want to know from those who actually care about local fashion if this is something the Fashion Industry needs? Or am I wasting my time and money. As much as this is something I want to do I still have to prove viability to the other Director (Isaac Ali) at Simply Runway, this is an annual project. Can this work for the Designers…I guess they have the final say, they always did. Can this work for me as a retailer looking to purchase in a wholesale capacity? We’re yet to find out.

    I would definitely want to continue chatting with you, now that you’re open to it. I’m totally interested in finding solutions and harmonizing ideas. Please message me on facebook indicating when is convenient for you for us to reconvene. I actually prefer a sit down if you’re up to it.

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