If there's a Caribbean getaway on your calendar, you know what time it is: Time to ditch the sweats and cue the flowy fabrics, tropical hues, striking prints, and statement jewelry. Rocking up to your resort with the right wardrobe is key, so we consulted designers who create with the Caribbean mind for their take on what to wear and where to wear it.
Shoma the Label by Shoma Persad
Roots: "I'm from the majestic twin-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago. We're small, but we've made a huge mark on the world. Carnival, soca, and the first woman of color to win Miss Universe all come out of T&T. We are very much one of those places where no matter where you come from, you'll see a little piece of yourself reflected in our culture."
Influences: "You can't be from the Caribbean and not be influenced by color, sound, movement, nature, and the vibrancy of our people. In my latest collection, Tropical Masquerade, each piece emanates the luxurious and effortless vibe of the island."
Vibes: "I'm drawn to flowy, breathable fabrics in vibrant tones, but I love to juxtapose flow with structure, similar to how the ocean can be both hard and soft. My designs are about bringing those elements together in a sophisticated way."
Must-buys: "The most versatile pieces to add to your wardrobe are the Manzanilla Breeze maxi, Birds of Paradise shirt, and Grande Riviere shorts. Pair the shirt with the shorts and hit up a Carnival fete, the farmers market in Santa Cruz, or brunch at UPick Farm in Chaguaramas. Wear the maxi to a seaside dinner at The Seahorse Inn Restaurant & Bar in Tobago."
To shop: shomathelabel.com
Jam + Rico by Lisette Scott
Roots: "I was raised in Brooklyn, but my family is from Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and the [American] South."
Influences: "My connection to the Caribbean begins with my grandparents. My dad's side of the family is from St. Ann, Jamaica, and my maternal grandfather is from Yauco, Puerto Rico. My culture has always been an anchor in my life. Once a year, I travel to the islands and the trip is always full of inspiration for our collections. From the food, music, and art to the architecture, tropical-colored homes, and native women, there are so many elements to pull from."
Vibes: "Layered and seasoned. I love to merge Caribbean influences with urban New York City living. Growing up in Brooklyn in the 1980s, I remember my mom and her friends wearing huge statement jewelry. Everything was so big, bold, and colorful. I wanted to be just like them when I grew up. In high school, I started thrifting in Manhattan, searching for unique vintage jewelry, which has also shaped my aesthetic."
Must-buys: "Our Cowrie bangles are a must. We offer them in silver, brass, and gold-plated. They travel well and pair with other pieces in our collection, like the Kingston earrings. My grandma wore bangles every day and I can still hear the sounds of them jingling as she cooked a big pot of rice and peas. I love wearing mine in the courtyard of The Dreamcatcher hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico."
To shop: jamandrico.com
Trèfle by Kristin Frazer
Roots: "I was raised on the largest island in the British Virgin Islands, Tortola. With about 60 islands, islets, rocks, and cays, it's easy to see why we've been dubbed the sailing capital of the world. I am rooted in true paradise."
Influences: "While I do get most of my inspiration from the BVI, every now and then I venture out and get inspired by my travels, meeting new people and experiencing new cultures along the way. My [current] collection, Whispers of Summer, tells that story in the most vivid way."
Vibes: "I engage people with a story. From the color palette to the print I design, to the physical launch of the collection and the visuals that follow…the entire process begins with a story."
Must-buys: "Every woman should own our chiffon Alivern pant. The array of colors [in the print] allows you to wear it with any swimsuit or top. To add to the mix, include our Allison scarf and Nikki mesh pleated skirt, which can be layered and mixed with other solids in your wardrobe. Wear them to brunch at the villa resort Oil Nut Bay, for a day of shopping in Road Town, or to events during our local fashion week, Summer Sizzle BVI."
To shop: trefledesigns.com
Edas by Sade Mims
Roots: "My parents are from West Philadelphia. I was born in Philly and grew up between Philly and New Jersey, but the Caribbean will one day be home. I've always yearned to find a new sense of belonging outside of the United States, and Grenada seems to be the place I want to settle. When I visited, I felt an instant connection."
Influences: "I'm heavily influenced by 1970s and 1990s Caribbean style. Menswear, particularly, has been a great inspiration and reference point for my design process. I dive into old photographs and films that have a strong Caribbean voice. The color stories and classic silhouettes are constantly grabbing my attention. The pieces look and feel personal, which is the exact feeling I want customers to have when shopping Edas."
Vibes: "We speak to our customers through timeless shapes, vibrant colors, and stories that feel relatable. Edas is eclectic and classic; our aesthetic mimics that message."
Must-buys: "Our Cynthia bucket bag is large and holds a lot, which will allow you to explore Grenada comfortably. Plus, it's colorful enough to work with most vacay looks. I'd wear it out to visit local craft markets. Our Luna earrings in coral scream 'vacation.' Thin and lightweight, they're the perfect accessory. And our beaded bucket hat, made to order in collaboration with Los Angeles artist Cameron Tea, adds the perfect touch to this look. Whether I'm out with friends for afternoon drinks or chilling on a boat, this hat just seems to always work."
To shop: edas.store
Metanoya Z. Webb is a multi-hyphenate creative, former lifestyle director at Essence, and an avid traveling mom who has visited more than 50 countries. Find her on Instagram and on her website.
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