The Caribbean isn’t only about sea and sand. Local designers are adding style to the equation with island-inspired clothing, jewelry, and accessories. Check out five of the region’s hottest talents, and then take their tips for looking stylish under the sun.
By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
Kristin Frazer, Trèfle Designs
When Beyoncé requests samples of your beachwear, you must be doing something right. That’s the enviable position that Tortola, British Virgin Islands–based designer Kristin Frazer found herself in 2014 when the superstar wore some of her swimwear on a Mediterranean vacation, putting Trèfle Designs on the international fashion map.
Named for her grandmother, Clover, who taught Frazer to sew (trèfle is the French word for the leaf), the design house is distinguishing itself in the Caribbean and beyond with a line of swimwear and resortwear in bold colors, playful prints, and sizes from petite to plus.
“I aim to offer my customers style, comfort, and affordability,” says the effervescent 20-something, who interned with Carolina Herrera and BCBG. “The Caribbean is my home, and Trèfle is my way of sharing it with the world.”
Style Suggestion: “Keep cool while you look cool in loose-fitting sun dresses in cotton, linen, or chiffon. And don’t be afraid of color and exotic prints! Hues such as aqua, canary yellow, and forest green reflect nature around you, make you happy, and are always on trend.”
Esther Lussan, Island Bags
When Barbados-based designer Esther Lussan couldn’t find the right bag to use during her frequent travels, she created one herself — and soon friends began clamoring for their own. So, in partnership with a former colleague in the garment industry, Lussan established Island Bags, a limited-edition line of multifunctional and chic pochettes designed to hold everything from makeup to personal tech.
Transitioning seamlessly from day to night, the simple and stylishly functional pouches feature photographs taken by Lussan herself, and incorporate playful tassels as oversized zipper-pulls. While she has since added clothing and jewelry to her Lilian Russell line, Lussan is keeping the brand small, retailing exclusively through Island Bags’ Facebook page, a local boutique, and a seasonal pop-up shop in the island’s Grantley Adams International Airport.
Style Suggestion: “For hot Caribbean days and nights, I love to carry a little folding hand fan to cool myself down with. I have quite a collection of darling ones from around the world!”
Joyia Jones, Joyia Jewelry
Even as young girl, when other children were collecting stickers and toy cars, Joyia Jones was collecting stones to make jewelry. And as an adult, after working as a teacher for many years,
Jones returned to her first love, working with a jeweler to learn silversmithing.
It wasn’t long afterward that she conceived the idea for her “intention jewelry,” engraved with inspirational sayings and customized motivational messages, and eventually opened her Christiansted, St. Croix, storefront. JoyiaJewelry.com
Style Suggestions “In the Caribbean heat you can’t accessorize with jackets and boots but you can…
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Photo: Island bags