This is Christina Goddard’s comeback year so you may want to get to know her.
The New York-based designer of Barbadian parentage has returned from a five-year break and she wants to do big things with her brand Conrad Sinclair.
(Conrad is her dad’s dad and Sinclair is the middle name of her mum’s dad.).
Prior to showing at Summer Sizzle BVI in Tortola in July 2018, her last show was in 2013.
I met Christina in Tortola and I caught up with her for an interview when she came to Barbados for Crop Over. I wanted to learn more about her development as a designer and what inspires her particular aesthetic.
Interestingly, she doesn’t quite know where she got the idea to begin sketching clothing. At eight years old she was “a little bit of tomboy” who loved drawing cars. When her sketchbook got stolen, the then ten-year-old switched to clothing.
When she was 11, her middle school guidance
With her parents’ blessing, Christina hurriedly prepared for the test which was quickly approaching and she was admitted to the High School of Fashion Industries.
“Thousands of kids apply but only so many people get in. I was one of 318 kids they accepted that year. I got in and it just took off from there,” she recalls.
Christina knew that running a fashion business
Her first official show was in 2010. By then her mum had passed away and this set her back a bit. When she heard about a show in St Maarten where her aunt lives, she decided it was time to showcase her work.
“It kind of renewed my spirit and I felt like I was doing something for me and my mum. Later in that year, in October, they had BB Fashion week [in Barbados].
“It was really good, but I wasn’t prepared. I wasn’t prepared like I should’ve been. The clothes looked great. Yeah, I can sew really well but I didn’t have an assistant, I didn’t have the same support I needed,” Christina recalls. (Her dad was supportive but didn’t necessarily see fashion design as a “real job”.)
“I don’t think he realized how much this is a part of me. Not having that preparation, not knowing how to operate at a fashion show, it was a wake-up call and it’s really true what they say. As many steps as you take forward, you’re gonna get knocked back a few,” she says.
Christina showed in St Maarten a second time and also at Caribbean Fashion Week in Jamaica in 2013.
Each time, the feedback was great but the young designer felt she was stuck “in limbo” without support.
2018 Conrad Sinclair collection a hit
Still, her love for fashion didn’t
“People liked the fact that it’s current, it’s fashionable, but it’s functional. I’m all for the glitz and the glam and every once in a while, I have a dress that’s like WOW but at the end of the day, I want people to be empowered when they wear my clothes. You’re not gonna wear a tent dress every day and it has a million sparkles and appliques and other things on it but you can wear a really nice jacket.
“Everyone was excited about what they had on because it’s something that they can wear and function in but still feel beautiful. That’s a very big deal for me,” she says.
Christina makes clothing that can easily be worn to the office then styled differently for a night out. With a young clientele in mind for Conrad Sinclair, she focuses on clothing that can be worn often and in different ways.
And as evidenced by her Tortola showing, the market is ready for her work.
“That positive feedback and that reassurance let you know you’re back on the right track. It gives you that boost. It’s like ‘we’ve been waiting for you, Christina.”
Christina is aiming to have the new Conrad Sinclair collection ready for January and her website up and running before then so stay tuned.