#ShopLocal // Christmas Gift Guide

Hide yo wallets! Hide yo ATM cards!

The recession is here y’all and so is Christmas!!!

I’ve always seen Christmas time as my own personal recession anyway…since it’s the time of year I spend with reckless abandon…both on my loved ones and myself.

Anyhoo! In my humble, completely unprofessional opinion, there’s no better way to stimulate a country’s ailing economy by spending more money…locally.

So tell Amazon to go suck an egg (most of the Skybox companies have passed their Christmas shipping deadlines anyyyywaaayyyy) and check out these great gift options for your peeps…or….yourself.

$800 and under

So if I’m even bothering to get you a gift, and you’re not Mombert or Dadbert or Brobert, you probably fall into this category. You ma top tier peeps so I’m gonna shell a little more on you than I would other folks in my life.

Rebel Swimwear – $700-$800 at The Shop

IMG_1421IMG_142011950537_929331977139320_1730144120_n

Woven Baskets – $576 – $684 at The Shop

IMG_1412

Meiling Tunic – $650 at The Shop

IMG_1415

Shop Shari Necklace – $600 at Exhibit A

IMG_1442 (1)

Delia Alleyne Wrap Jumper – $600 at The Shop

IMG_1410

Lisa See Tai Fringe Kimono – $558 at The Shop

IMG_1407

$500 and under

Cocoa Vintage Necklace – $475 at The Shop

IMG_1399

Toni Crockett Design Throw Pillows – $400 each at Exhibit A

IMG_1446

Lend & Borough Tote – $351 at The Shop

IMG_1408

The Urban Factory Bracelet – $380 at Exhibit A

IMG_1440

Colouriot Jewelry for Bene Caribe Necklace – $280 each at Akimbo

IMG_1427

Zidelle Crop Top – $360 at The Shop

IMG_1418

Island Bags Pouch – $320 at Exhibit A

IMG_1444

Aya Made Necklace – $250 at Akimbo

IMG_1429

Wholesome You Body Care Gift Set – $225 at Akimbo

IMG_1426

JoVew by Makisa Bag – $315 at Akimbo

IMG_0973

Drevait Clutch – $360 at Akimbo

IMG_1431

Bay Leaf Tunic – $350 at Akimbo

IMG_1430

Sanianitos Sunnies – $250 at The Shop

IMG_1406

Greta Michelle Tea Cups – $245 each at The Shop

IMG_1403

$200 and under

Yes this category exists!

Cocoa Vintage Cocoa Pod Studs – $125 (gold) and $100 (brown/yellow) at The Shop

IMG_1398

Nikki Biedes Bracelet – $175 at Exhibit A

IMG_1443

Immortelle Beauty Gift Set – $150 at The Shop

IMG_1413

Wholesome You Hair Care Gift Set – $140 at Akimbo

IMG_1425

Turtle Warriors Tassel Bracelets – $150 each at The Shop

IMG_1400

Immortelle Beauty Ambré Candle – $125 at Exhibit A

IMG_1439

Nola Daniels Coconut Tea Cup – $72 at The Shop

IMG_1416

Classy Gents Beard Oil and Balm – $130 and $60 at Akimbo

IMG_1432

I still have to hit up Exhibit A and Blue Basin to see what they have on offer, so this guide will probably get updated on the weekend.

This list is by no means exhaustive – there’s no way I could document every single item at these stores, so I just selected the items I liked the most 🙂

Please pay a visit to either The Shop at the Normandie Hotel or Akimbo on Pro Queen Street, Arima, to grab some locally made goodies for the loves in your life.

Happy shopping!

Treasure Hunting // Akimbo

East people…our time has come!

Finally there’s a shopping resource in the east for people who want to put their money where their mouth is and buy locally (and regionally) made clothing, accessories and beauty products.

Akimbo, located on Pro Queen Street, Arima (obliquely opposite the tennis courts near the Arima market) is a newly opened boutique which carries products from Trinbagonian artisans, as well as a few folks from other islands.

I missed the opening on November 7th but was able to pop in today.

They carry a variety of designers and makers, with products ranging from clothing to jewellery to handbags to toiletries to furniture to art.

Prices are reasonable IMO – ie, you don’t get the impression you’re paying a heavily inflated price for purchasing from a retail outlet as opposed to directly from a designer.

The store itself is spacious and comfortable. You don’t feel cramped while browsing the items. I didn’t get to check out the changing rooms but they seemed to have quite a bit of space in the area behind the register, so I’m optimistic those also give you enough room to wiggle into some of the pretty dresses on offer.

If you’re still stuck for Christmas shopping, and not able to make it to any of the local markets, consider Akimbo as a shopping destination “past the lighthouse” (eye roll, eye roll, eye roll).

Please note that Akimbo doesn’t currently have a LINX machine. They’re working on it, but for now it’s cash only. Luckily there’s an RBC a stone’s throw away.

Check out my pics from Akimbo:

IMG_0975

AYA Made necklace (custom order)

IMG_0984

William McIntosh

IMG_0973

JoVew by Makisa

IMG_0965

KisKiddies by Xala Ramesar

IMG_0945

Bay Leaf

IMG_0947

Ai Naturals soap

IMG_0970

All Things Pallet

IMG_0946

Tizik

IMG_0969

Affrillance Haiti

My Top Monday Wear Picks

Monday weaaaarrrrrrr. Love it, hate it, doh care about it…Monday wear is here to stay! And I’m pretty neutral on the topic, I think everyone has the right to spend their hard earned money how they choose, and if that choice involves dropping a cool $10K on a costume, then another $1200 on top of that for Monday wear then do you boo!

Monday wear designers have been revealing their designs since last year August, when Monday Rocks The Runway let the bumcees loose at O2 Park.

Armchair critics had a time, complaining about who was wearing too little, who was wearing too much, who bottom was outside, who breast was in dey face. Yeah…because skin at Carnival is somehow STILL taboo.

All that noise aside, I’ve been in observation mode since then and I feel like I’ve narrowed down some of my favourites from the offerings this year. My own Monday wear is on lock thanks to my spirit animal Valmiki Maharaj, who also designed my costume, Pai in Bliss, but I’ve got a wandering eye. No harm in looking right?

Keisha Als

Hands down one of my favourites from her Bling collection. This is one of the more recent designs that she’s done for her collaboration with cANYAval, and you can colour me impressed. First up, a nude bodysuit is ALWAYS a good idea…and the crochet overlay on the nude metallic adds much-needed texture to the monochromatic look. Throw on some sparkle and you’re good to go. Understated fabulousness for Carnival Monday and beyond. Bling looks have begun selling out by the way, so click the link in the caption to go to the store.

Rebel Swimwear for Vice/Tribe

I’m not playing in Vice but for this Monday wear I just might have to sneak my name on the list. You know Vice right? That’s the costume that…well…a little vicey. The one that had personal trainers struggling to come up with exercises specifically for the pubic region and girls all over Trinidad bawling they need a ‘box diet’. Yeah, the Monday wear is no more forgiving. I love Rebel on the whole, cause Sian owns the bad bitch formula and shares it willingly with what she calls her ‘Rebel army’. Lots of combinations available which makes it even more special and I LOVE the colours and print. Can’t wait to see this on the road.

IMG_8939

Marie Collette

I appreciated this piece from the time I saw it at Monday Rocks the Runway. Digging the tribal elements juxtaposed with that graphic print. The extreme high cut is offset nicely by the string waist band…so you out there…but you not OUT there I guess. That waist band come like Atlas…the world rests on its shoulders. The little cutaway on the bust is also quite cheeky…but if you can make it work, do so post-haste!

mariecollette

Rhion Romany

Can you talk about Monday wear and not mention this name? Rhion Romany has BEEN killing it in the bodywear game for a while now but he has some simple but very effective options for the gliteratti come Carnival Monday. I’m digging the Diana and Julia bodysuit options for Monday mas, and they come in a variety of custom prints that are hand picked by the man himself. This high cut business that happening with Diana gonna be causing real problems on the road for Carnival, I done see. But nobody minds because it’s fierce as all hell.

rhionromany

Diana (left) and Julia (right)

Let me know who you’re wearing on the road for Carnival Monday, or if you’re opting for some DIY action…maybe even a lil Micles kit (ain’t nothing wrong with that by the way).

Tchao!

Pencil This In // Racked 2.0

Racks on racks…on racks…of clothes.

That’s the forecast for this weekend with the highly anticipated Racked 2.0 touching down this Sunday at The Verandah on Rust Street, St Clair.

You know the drill (or do you? hmm) – show up early…because I can guarantee everything you love will be sold out in the blink of an eye (I know this because I’ll be the one buying them, ha!).

Doors open at 11am and the first 50 customers get a complimentary cocktail from the bar. Parking is available on both sides of Rust Street on a Sunday so there’s no fear of the wrecker swooping through and grabbing your shopping money. The event only runs til 5:30pm so it might be a good idea to skip the beach. The weather has been shit anyway…Racked is the better idea.

Ain and Emma, the ladies running the event basically dished that patrons can look forward to even MORE apparel designers this time around. They’ve made a concerted effort to cater to everyone – women (duh, but we always get the best stuff), men (with BCO Style, Mark Eastman and Peta Odini) and kids (San Sarai, Sew Lisa and ESPJr). There will be more than 22 of our best and brightest in local fashion on hand to serve up all the fabulous hand-made goodness that frankly, we don’t see enough of.

If you’re like me and are in the quiet throes of desperation, trying to get everyone’s name checked off your Christmas list before the end of November, then Racked 2.0 provides the perfect opportunity to do exactly that, all while supporting the #SupportLocal movement.

Here are a few of the designers you can look forward to at Racked tomorrow:

See you tomorrow guys!

#RepYourHoodie

A quick word to say I love you guys.

Aaaaaaand, my girl Mel over at Trinidad Lookbook is hosting a pretty sweet #RepYoHoodie crowd funded custom apparel campaign over on Teespring.com. Basically….show your hood some love with a comfy hoodie that let’s everybody know where your roots are buried.

repyohoodie

Mine? Deep in the earth of Arima forever. I’ll be snagging two – one for me and one for my bro. If you rep Arima PLEASE support, we only get our swag if the target of 20 sold is met. I. Want. My. Hoodie. Dammit.

#AhhReeMah Stand Up

#AhhReeMah Stand Up

The griot one is pretty dope too.

Griot

In case you didn’t know btw:

A griot (/ˈɡri.oʊ/; French pronunciation: ​[ɡʁi.o]), jali or jeli (djeli or djéli in French spelling) is a West African historian, storyteller, praise singer, poet and/or musician.

So all the lovers of storytelling, be it song/dance/music/poetry or just plain ol’ sweet talk, be sure to grab one of these too. Part proceeds go to the Cancer Society….because #FckCancer

Btw if you want your hood/ie repped I suggest you ride around your block real quick and round up 20 of your most fashionable friends. Petition Trinidad Lookbook to see your hood/ie for sale then let your wallet do the talking.

Hometown pride. Yes eh.

Port of Spain Style by Maya Cozier

A while back I was asked, rather spontaneously, to be interviewed for a short film that Maya Cozier was shooting during her summer break from school. Of course I obliged, and yesterday, Maya posted the finished product for all to see. Kudos to Maya for great production quality, fab story-telling and a cast of super interesting subjects, all of whom I respect for having a distinct sense of style that I think is very true-to-self. I feel very honoured to have been considered along with these fab folks – Shandelle Loregnard, Sanian Lewis, Aaron Fingal, Rhys Thompson, Shannon Alonzo and Arielle Williams.

Check out the video below and share it round! You can peep me at 3:02 touting my fave local labels like Lend & Borough and Koko Karibi, and honourary Trini (but really she’s Dominican) Kristy Collado’s Chejo line.

Port of Spain style from Maya Cozier on Vimeo.

Treasure Hunting // The Shop

IMG_7503

Simply but aptly named, The Shop occupies two units at The Normandie Hotel’s quaint Market Place, which already houses gems such as the Paper Based Bookshop and Gillian Bishop’s fine jewellery store.

Conceptualised as a space for local small businesses, artists, designers, and pretty much anyone with a creative passion to be able to showcase and sell their goods, The Shop hosts a variety of locally made treasures. Fashionistas and fashionistos alike can find apparel here from The Cloth, the queen of black and white – Meiling, quirky aprons from Jade Drakes aka Duck Girl and an array of colourful children’s clothing by Lisa Gittens of Sew Lisa.

IMG_7508 IMG_7509 IMG_7491

I was super excited to see Lend & Borough, a line of handmade leather handbags produced by Melissa Darbeau, sunglasses by my girl Sanian of Sanianitos, Mark Eastman‘s appropriately titled ‘Dappered’ collection of…well…rather dapper bow ties, intricate jewellery from Rachel Rochford and wonderful upcycled jewellery from Nature Seekers Craft & Jewellery.

IMG_7504 IMG_7502 IMG_7496 IMG_7493 IMG_7505

For the foodies there’s local fruit preserves by Terre Benie, who also sells at San Antonio Green Market, packaged saltfish buljol and smoked herring by Oui Cuisine, honey and honey products (I saw some candles I can only presume are made of bees’ wax) by Bede Rajahram, and my favourite cocoa tea and cocoa products from Exotic Caribbean Mountain Pride.

IMG_7490 IMG_7513 IMG_7515 IMG_7514

An unexpected surprise was The Palette Project – household items made from repurposed wooden palettes. Sustainable and affordable, I saw quite a few wine racks and some unique shelving options that had a real raw, unpolished feel to them. Very organic and special.

20140822_155853

 

You get the vibe that The Shop is going to be one of those places that provides a new experience every time you visit. One of the owners of The Shop, Charisse Parsons promised to have even more designers and artisans showcased in the future. I’m always happy to see the #SupportLocal movement expand, particularly to brick and mortar establishments. Go check out The Shop when you get a chance!