STYLE FASHION

Caribbean Fashion: The Cloth is "Out Of The Box"

Adrian Richards Contributor

Caribbean fashion designer, Robert Anthony Young embraces the mantra that we live our lives in patterns, and despite what we believe are expressions of freedom, we are all trapped in a box. Profound!  Emerging from the treasury of wisdom amassed over some 25 years at the creative helm and as owner of Caribbean fashion label, The Cloth, Robert Anthony Young suggests that our own reality, our truth, is not tautological: “Liberation is truly possible, if we heal from our various defeats.” It is from this trajectory that we begin to understand The Cloth’s 2014 Collection #inaboxtryingtogetoutofapattern.

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The Cloth 2014 Collection #inaboxtryingtogetoutofapattern Photo: Adrian Richards Photography

Caribbean Artistry, Global View

It was five, perhaps six years ago at a chance meeting when I first encountered Robert Anthony Young. I was in Jamaica covering Caribbean Fashion Week, and was struck by his creative faculties that were realised through the design range of The Cloth. I have been a fan and follower of Robert’s remarkable talent ever since.  Robert Anthony Young’s shows are always an event, wielding true Caribbean artistry and genuine Caribbean sensibility that translates to a global view.  His work is of international quality, widely appreciated, worn, adored and collected worldwide.

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The Cloth 2014 Collection #inaboxtryingtogetoutofapattern Photo: Adrian Richards Photography

Barbados Expedition, Pickled Pig and Breadfruit

Recently, I had the delight of spending time with Robert, and as I am wont to do with friends visiting Barbados, I gave him a brief tour of the island’s northern parishes of St Peter, St Lucy and St Andrew. The expedition (sometime off-road) culminated with lunch of Bajan Pudding and Souse at The Sands restaurant in Belleplaine, St Andrew.  Over pickled pig and breadfruit we talked about his visions, his beliefs and manifestations. Robert is intently spiritual, seeing the ethereal in daily life. Yet, contrasting my tendency towards a life centred on the scientific and pragmatic, we share much in common. We are drawn to a love for the great outdoors, adventure sports and life of exploration.

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The Cloth 2014 Collection #inaboxtryingtogetoutofapattern Photo: Adrian Richards Photography

When one begins to stitch together these few fabrics of Robert Anthony Young’s qualities and character, perhaps the casual observer may begin to comprehend The Cloth’s 2014 Collection #inaboxtryingtogetoutofapattern.

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The Cloth 2014 Collection #inaboxtryingtogetoutofapattern Photo: Adrian Richards Photography

Caribbean Designer’s Quest for Liberation

In a quest to find his own mode of creative liberation – after over 25 years of a design practice that spawned an inimitable style and emblazoned an ineradicable mark on Caribbean fashion scene – Robert Anthony Young reached out to Caribbean Academy of Fashion and Design at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (CAFD, 2012 graduate, Mark Eastman.

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The Cloth 2014 Collection #inaboxtryingtogetoutofapattern Photo: Adrian Richards Photography

Creative Collaboration delivers ‘Rebirth’

Collaboratively exploring the familiar, while charting new pathways, the Young-Eastman duo emerged with a stunning 2014 collection that breaks new grounds. Utilising floral prints as canvas and in its detailing, the collection speaks to the emancipation of form. Garments assume fresh volume, depth and dimension. The Cloth’s signature applique and established design aesthetics give way to new techniques of cuts, shape and structure, delivering the #inaboxtryingtogetoutofapattern.

The Cloth Adrian Richards Out of the Box Model Shahaida Lynch

The Cloth 2014 Collection #inaboxtryingtogetoutofapattern Photo: Adrian Richards Photography

Banana leaves, Cotton Branches

The challenge to escape the box and be delivered from patterns and strictures has given rise to an innovative expression centred on the theme of ‘rebirth’ and manifested in the floral texturing.

The Cloth Adrian Richards Out of the Box Model Orvin February

The Cloth 2014 Collection #inaboxtryingtogetoutofapattern Photo: Adrian Richards Photography

At St Lucia’s Hot Couture, May 2014 in Rodney Bay, Robert presented his patchwork print and embossed designs with models carrying banana leaves, and hands of bananas. This spoke of the designers sensitivities to the importance of agricultural to St Lucia’s (and Jamaica’s) development. In Barbados, cotton tree branches were selected to embody the Sea Island cotton industry, which should be of greater importance than currently. A sad status quo attributed to the short-sighted qualities and ineffectiveness of leaders who have limited regard for the ramifications of trade deals with larger economies.

The irony of the The Cloth’s 2014 #inaboxtryingtogetoutofapattern collection is that many of its elements are the very things that it yearns to escape…hemlines rise and fall within the same garment; 3D pull out squares are worked into the designs, in some cases form the basis for the garment, and so – are trapped in a box, in a pattern, in a labyrinth – spaces which both designer and wearer occupy.  The path to liberation is rarely straightforward. Are we then forever tethered in some way to our patterns and boxes?

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The Cloth 2014 Collection #inaboxtryingtogetoutofapattern Photo: Adrian Richards Photography

Robert Anthony Young is a man who not only creates and delivers beautiful things, he is a profound thinker concerned deeply about the world around him and how he may positively make an impact it…  Out of the box indeed, but perhaps we all should look beyond that box in search for of own liberation.

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The Cloth 2014 Collection #inaboxtryingtogetoutofapattern Photo: Adrian Richards Photography

The Cloth
24 Erthig Road
Belmont
Trinidad and Tobago
www.thecloth.net
www.facebook.com/theclothcaribbean
twitter.com/inside1
instagram.com/insideready

 

Adrian Richards Photography
http://500px.com/AdrianR
tumblr.com/blog/adrianr

instagram.com/adriannr

 

Models:
Orvin February
Lance Joseph
Shahaida Lynch
Earla Massiah
Make up:
Adzil Stuart
Special Thanks:
John Hunte

 

 

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