Caribbean Aesthetics Informing Fashion Trends
Updated: May 31, 2019
During the month of April I went to the Virgin Islands, more specifically to the islands, St.Thomas and St. John. In that month, I met artists, designers, sculptresses, and photographers, blown glass experts, meditation guiders and product designers. None of these people directly worked in fashion but each of them had a way of informing the fashion on the small island of St.John.
Fashion is more than just clothing. Fashion is identity, expression, and creativity. It is a visual aspect fo a person that allows them to communicate non-verbally with the rest of the world. Art and the like do similarly as well. Often it is invaluable to seek a deeper understanding of fashion through its creative counterparts. On an island as small as St John, it can be extremely difficult to see a connection to its contribution in the fashion industry, because it is extremely difficult. But it is possible.
St. John particularly has very few natives as the small island recruits West Indians from neighboring islands such as St. Thomas, St. Croix, Bahamas, and the British Virgin Islands. Besides this population, St John is home to many people coming from all different places from around the world, many of whom had lived in a big City (New York being and Boston being the two most popular cities connecting to current residents) and with they they bring the influence of city life yet negate the parts they are trying to run away from. Essentially, much of life on the island is about aesthetics. It is a paradise. We are surround daily with the truest beauty and therefore it is extremely easy to visualize a beautiful life. And as such, fashion is about creating the most beautiful you whether or not is is a flamboyant you or a simple you.
A simple example is the fact that many people on the island are either artists of some sort or engage actively in the arts that occur on the island. Presented below is a famous gallery on the island that hosts some of the most prestigious talents on the island from jewelry designers, painters, and photographers. "The Gallery Wilde" promotes these artists and successfully has people on and off the island sporting identifying features of the island such as the Petroglyph jewelery designs that marks a connection between the native land and the cave drawings found within the coral reefs edge of the Caribbean shore and rocks. Through this piece it unifies the community and adds to their sense of style.
In addition to the unification of identity and celebration of artistic expression found in many of the island's boutiques and galleries, people in general prepare a specific look that they would like to embody while on the island whether or not they are permanent residents. As is the reality of any beachside town, island, or beachside resort, people tend to dress more casually, in loose fitting clothing, white ensembles, and fresh faced. This either gives the allusion that you are relaxed and enjoying your time on vacation, or is a product of the reality that you are enjoying your vacation. For people that live in these spaces, relatively everyone, is like this all of the time regardless of the hard-work they put into their own personal careers.
Here Poet of "Things Unsaid" by Amaya Sunn, poses before us as a perfect example of what you will see everyday on the island, bronzed skin, joyful energy, and a general sense of relaxed yet chic fashion.
Photography: Carmela Myles Masika