Five Caribbean Designers You Should Be Following on Instagram
Updated: Aug 7
by Kara Martin
…And just like that, 2020 herded and corralled us all onto the internet to… connect? To…disconnect from the rest of our earthly anxieties? Who really knows what! All we do know is that ‘In-Person’ isn’t very “in” right now (the effects of which we’ll probably see for a while), and ‘Online’ is where it’s at...
If this COVID-19 outbreak teaches us anything about ‘The Big Scroll’ and the weird ways in which we engage in it, it’s that, first off: we need to wash our hands and wipe down our devices more; and secondly: we could all do with a little Virtual Spring Cleaning and a lot more mindfulness when it comes to what content we consume.
How about giving Tik-Toks and tasteless memes a break in favour of these five awesome Caribbean fashion designer accounts?
Fe Noel - @fenoel
"Daughter of the Soil" Collection
Photography by @itayshaphoto, Model: @fatouobeofficial
One day while numbly scrolling for nothing, I came across this photo of a long-limbed, dark-skinned model ready to dig into a mango with acid-orange lips under an epic afro cloud of hair.
She was wearing a silky draped and tied “slink” of a dress with a surprisingly-well-paired, tie-dyed turtleneck top underneath it, and suddenly a portal had opened; an invitation had been received to enter the world of Fe Noel.
It was a genuine ‘love at first sight’ moment (also ‘like’ at first sight...)
Founder Fe (Felisha) herself is also a joy to look at – she rocks her own flirtatiously, rebelliously hard-to-pin-down line like no one else. She already keeps well busy collaborating with Bloomingdales (for a collection inspired by the last Lion King film), and outfitting Beyonce and Gabrielle Union, but we love that she also never forgets to shout about home, and often uses The Spice Isle as muse for her collections. Her page is a great follow because it marries both fashion and travel, with emphasis on a love for what Grenada has to offer – be it pastel-painted houses and verdant landscapes or a total-local look at lesser-known fashion talent. The Grenada Tourism Authority has honoured her specially and supported her front row at NYFW 2020 (for which she was billed as one of the seven designers to watch by Elle magazine).
Fe Noel’s individual pieces certainly arrest on their own, but layering them too opens up a whole new world of sexiness to what it means to be “covered up”. Like.
William McIntosh - @william.mcintosh
Photography by @shotbycorri, Model: kevonsamuelofficial
It’s been hard not to toss a ‘like’ at everything this curiously, quietly-thriving Trinbagonian designer and stylist is doing, especially for the iconic Box Tee (pictured). Anything William McIntosh does, for that matter, seems to be cool with local artists (and artist types) - with past clients including soca artistes Kees Dieffenthaller and Olantunji Yearwood. There’s a definite nod to New York-inspired Streetwear and Athleisure in McIntosh’s aesthetic, but there’s also plenty of “Caribbean” and Classic looks to go around too, thanks to a ton of bold colour-blocking, poppin’ prints, cheeky graphics and sharp cuts.
WYLD FLWR - @wyldflwr_
Photo: Limited edition "DESERT FLWR".
If you’re into fashion – Caribbean or otherwise - then chances are you already follow Anya Ayoung-Chee (Project Runway winner and former Miss Trinidad & Tobago Universe titleholder, among many, many other things). But do you follow her new baby WYLD FLWR? Off the bat, we get the Carnival reference. It’s Monday wear for someone who calls their bathroom a “boudoir”. It’s also just generally a Festival Wear brand – you know, Anya’s gotta have regular kit ready for her visits to Burning Man every year, and so do you! Okay, so what if the majority of arts & music festivals might be postponed for the foreseeable future… You can still rock these Burlesque-inspired bra-lets and bodysuits, dripping Flapper-style capelets and fringe fancies in the bedroom… They’re very “peek-a-boo”-cute and darling, but also kind of kink!
Cushnie (formerly Cushnie et Ochs) - @cushnie
Okay, so the Fashion Week-fave “power couple” that made up Cushnie et Ochs (Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs) is no more, but Jamaican-British designer and co-founder Cushnie on her own remains a frontrunner in the international fashion industry for her simple, sleek, clean and sophisticated approach to mind-boggling sexiness in the form of luxe, ready-to-wear looks, bags and accessories (and now bridal, too!).
Cushnie designs for the woman who sees the benefit in adding an element of playfulness to their power every now and then. Needless to say, Rihanna and Michelle Obama are repeat clients and the brand holds court everywhere from Neiman Marcus to Net-a-Porter. In 2018 it celebrated its 10-year anniversary with a stunning commemorative collection, so if you’re not following Cushnie by now, then shame on you.
Rebels to Dons - @rebelstodons
When it comes to Menswear, Brooklyn-based Trinidadian, Joshua C. Joseph’s brand isn’t for the faint of heart-and-haute-couture. It is for winners like Lewis Hamilton, game-changing rappers and artists like Pusha T, Kranium, and the late Juice WRLD, and style addicts like Justin Bieber. Needless to say, the paparazzi have practically unknowingly shot a free ad campaign and diverse portfolio for this designer fond of fearless patchwork, acid colourways and baggy silhouettes. Rebels is on the street, yes, but knows its way around editorials, too – Complex, Harper’s Bazaar and Billboard magazine are all on board. And now for the catwalk… Log on to peak the Inner Flames SS20 collection, which dropped in January and served as the designer’s NYFW debut! And don’t forget to hit ‘like’ and 'follow'.