Cosquel to Couture: The Caribbean Brand IdentityIan Royer
We all know the word cosquel. It’s an outlandish, odd, bold, and often times bizarre form of dress.
I only began identifying it with Caribbean Couture when Caribbean fashion icon, Richard Young, took me under his wing when I worked as the publicist for Fashion Week Trinidad and Tobago, many moons ago.
Richard explained that what we take for granted as Caribbean people is how much of our identity is expressed in what we wear, and how connected the entire Caribbean is by our love of bright vibrant colours, signature pieces, and how we are taught from young to use clothes as a statement piece regardless of how much money was in our pockets.
What we did as part of our everyday lives, fashion houses around the world sold at high prices and received high by calling it couture.
It’s only now, living abroad for the last 5 years, that I fully understand and appreciate how our brand of cosquel is so unique and identifiable.
I can go to an event and I will always notice the Caribbean people because of how we dress.
It’s like a calling card, that we all have deeply engrained in our DNA, that you only get to see when you’re removed from it in the everyday.
We also do not realise how powerful this sense of style and fashion impacts overseas.
One of JayZ’s most iconic music videos, Big Pimping, dripped with Caribbean Cosquel Couture and was filmed in Trinidad and Tobago.
One of the most popular episodes of WAGS-LA on E!Entertainment was their Carnival Episode Fashion designers like Anya Ayoung Chee and Ayana Ife gained renown for their Caribbean aesthetic and Caribbean people have dominated the Beauty Pageant industry because of that Caribbean style.
I chose to write about our style and its importance to me, because this is what I think about when I think Bella Baci and why I wanted to join this community of bloggers.
It was the first retail brand in Trinidad that allowed men to find affordable and stylish clothes and I still have many of my pieces to this day.
It’s my connection to Trinbagonian lifestyle as well, the branded isims that are posted, the fashion that is sold, the accessibility of the clothing, it’s all a part of our Caribbean DNA – and as a Trini abroad, it anchors me to home.
As I continue my blogs, I will be chatting with Caribbean fashion icons to help us understand and appreciate who we are and how we express ourselves through fashion.
Until next time.