Caribbean fashion designers ‘cut style’ for PANAMANIA
Trinidad & Tobago fashion designer, Charu Lochan Dass, has come up with a new and unique idea to honour women from the twin-island republic.
Starting this year, names of women who have inspired her or are making significant contributions without much fanfare will be attached to her collections.
The Lalla collection, named after friend and client, Lalla Bachew, was showcased last Thursday at the Cuttin’ Style Caribbean outdoor fashion show at HTO Park on Queen’s Quay W. The resort wear collection comprises 24 limited edition pieces hand-crafted from silk, chiffon, voile and lace.
The Anja collection, which premiered at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Amsterdam two weeks ago, was displayed last Saturday night at the Cuttin’ Style Caribbean dinner & fashion show at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel.
Comprising 20 limited edition pieces handcrafted from embellished laces, silks and timeless prints, the collection bears the name of 29-year-old T & T lawyer, Anja Dass.
“These are ordinary women who are extraordinary in their own rights in our country,” Lochan Dass told Share while in Toronto for the two events that were commissioned by the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games arts & culture festival, ‘PANAMANIA’. “I am creating a legacy for these beautiful women.”
A resident of the twin-island republic since the age of six, when her mother married a Trinidadian and followed him from Delhi to the Caribbean, Lochan Dass created her own self-titled brand – CLD – that encompasses the essence of a confident, elegant and sophisticated woman.
“CLD exudes class, brilliance, beauty, elegance, sophistication, poise and sensuality and produces formal wear that is both glamorous and timeless,” she said. “When you purchase a fashionable garment from us, you are making an investment in a piece of clothing that you could pull out and wear in another five years. There is always a connection between you and that piece of clothing.”
Lochan Dass’ passion for fashion was heightened in 2000 after visiting an aunt in Delhi, who is a boutique owner.
“I have always been good with my hands,” she said. “Growing up, I loved art, sketching, painting and fashionable things. When I was in India 15 years ago, I realized that I could merge my painting and sketching skills with my natural instinct for fashion and style.”
With no formal training even though she owned a fashion retail business, Lochan Dass enrolled at the London College of Fashion, which is a leading global provider of fashion education at the undergraduate and graduate level.
“My business, which I started 14 years ago, was doing well and I figured I could leave it for a while to go to England and pursue higher education,” she said.
On her return home in 2011, Lochan Dass created her brand, which is experiencing soaring growth.
Curated by Joan Pierre, the Cuttin’ Style ‘PANAMANIA’ events featured accomplished fashion designers like Robert Young and emerging talent such as Dominic “Hutch” Hutchinson, who enjoyed showcasing his swim and resort wear last Thursday against the backdrop of Lake Ontario.
“You can have the greatest designers indoors and their pieces will look very good, but the ambience of where we are right now takes that work to another level,” said Hutchinson, who was in Toronto for the first time.”
The outdoor show opened with pieces created by Guyana’s premiere designer, Sonia Noel, who was unable to make the trip. One of seven Caribbean designers selected to showcase their talent and creativity in London during the 2012 Olympics, her insatiable desire for warm colours, deep texture and a distinct Caribbean flavour are reflected in exquisite designs that exude a sense of style and love of fashion.
Carefully crafted with technical acumen while giving painstaking attention to detail and creativity, her apparel appeals to both the young and old seeking glamour and sophistication.
A regular participant at fashion events across the Caribbean, Noel started Guyana Fashion Week eight years ago to increase local designers’ visibility and promote their creativity.