All posts by Natasha Beckles

Iman Estie Makes A Comeback

It can be hard for a brand to make a resurgence but Brandi Estwick is ready to do big things with Iman Estie .

The line was launched back in 2012.  It rocked local runways and Brandi even showed at Concept Studios in Hollywood in March 2013.

Iman Estie
Founder/designer Brandi Estwick.

Unfortunately, she soon parted ways with a business partner and hit a rough patch. This forced her to take a hiatus.

“I had given up, to be honest. I felt like no matter what I tried, after trusting the wrong people, it kept backfiring on my business. Even when I tried to return, there was always a set back in my way, so from 2014 to 2016, I thought about it all. Was it worth it anymore? Do people really like my stuff? Did people ever really see my creativity (since I was following the direction of a manager prior to laying low)? ”

Brandi also had some personal challenges in the form of recurrent miscarriages.

“During such trying times, a lightbulb went off. It taught me to push despite all odds. I took all of my experiences and developed a plan. I started to believe in me like I never did. I wanted to prove that I can get back on my feet and made a vow that at the end of 2016, I would start the social media accounts,  and by 2017 I’d be up and running again and here I am today! “

Iman Estie
Brandi’s first love was actually interior designing although she studied Clothing & Textiles at secondary school.
“I studied Interior at Barbados Community College, graduated and immediately started work in that field.  However, from secondary school I started to design my own clothing because I was so tired of going out and seeing everyone in the same thing. My debut was at a school cruise and I got such an overwhelming response in regards to what I was wearing. Many asked where I got it from and that’s when I initially decided that it would have been a side hobby. I made it a thing to start rocking my own designs whenever I had an event and it worked.”
Iman Estie

What’s in a name?

“Iman Estie is actually a combination of my middle and maiden name, which is Iman & Estwick.  Given that a select few used to call me Estie/Essie for short, I wanted a smart way to incorporate the two without using my first name. When I said it out loud, it had an international ring to it and it stuck.”

Brandi is currently offering chic, ready-to-wear semi-casual apparel.  It is in keeping with her personal style which leans toward minimalism. You’ll find simple pieces that can be dressed up or down.

Iman Estie

The garments in this post which were shown at Bimhaus recently are just a smidgen of what is to come.

“What you saw was the overall feel to my label. Chic minimalistic w/ a hint of street catering to strong, busy, iconic women who love to be fashionably comfortable.”

Iman Estie

Iman Estie’s e-commerce website is in the works but in the meantime, orders can be made via  Instagram or email (shopImanEstie@gmail.com). Just screenshot a picture from the page or describe which piece you’re interested in & and submit that along with your size and colour preference.
*Bags by Something Samarah.
*Photos by Reco Moore.

From the Catwalk: Pompasette Brunch Party Highlights

Another Pompasette event, another impressive display of  fashion design talent.

I’ve been covering Pompasette-related fashion events since 2013 (Pomp Wknd at the time) and I have never been disappointed with the design talent on show. Last year’s pop-up shops also made it easy to purchase Caribbean-made clothing and accessories. This was a much-needed outlet for both designers and those of us who love their work.

This year I attended my first Pompasette Brunch Party. It featured 24 of the leading designers from Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago. In addition to being an exciting fashion show, the event raised $5 000 for Variety, the Children’s Charity.  

Toni Thorne once again curated a fantastic line-up of talent.  I loved pieces from every designer so choosing favourites is hard. However, there were some collections that I thought really made an impact.

Let’s start with 13-year-old Aerin Ewing-Chow. Her first collection was youthful and whimsical but still sophisticated. Aerin’s pieces were perfectly accessorised with fascinators by Candi Nicholls.

Aerin Ewing-Chow

Aerin Ewing-Chow

One collection is challenging enough but Alexis Campbell managed to present two distinctly different lines. Both were fire!

Alexis Campbell, Pompasette brunch party

Alexis Campbell, pompasette brunch party

Kesia Estwick is nothing if not bold. Her collection was called Wild AF and that it was! Sexy, daring and totally Kesia.

Kesia Estwick, Pompasette brunch party Kesia Estwick, Pompasette brunch party

I love seeing Kimmysticclo on a runway. Kimon Baptiste-St Rose from St Vincent  and the Grenadines presents colours that pop and garments that move well and I’m here for all of it.

Kimmysticclo, Kimon Baptiste-St Rose,

Kimmysticclo, Kimon Baptiste-St Rose,

Out of Trinidad and Tobago, Lisa’s Fabrics offered up some vibrant hand-dyed silk dresses.

Lisa's Fabrics, Pompasette Brunch Party

I loved the crisp white pieces from NiaChris Designs (extra marks for the pockets.) The incorporation of African prints and clutch bags added to the collection.

Niachris Designs, Pompasette brunch party

Niachris Designs, Pompasette brunch party

Shakad Eco Wear is always, always stunning. Just look:

Finally, S.M. Warner from Trinidad and Tobago. These hand-painted designs were excellent! The fact that the collection was all black and white meant the focus was solely on the intricacy of the designs. What’s not to love?

SM Warner, Pompasette brunch party

Photos from all 24 designers are over on the InMyWardrobe Facebook page so go on and check them out! All photos are by Nu Visual Media.

 

 

Selfdom 101: A Journey to Self-Love Through Fashion

Selfdom 101 was a long time in coming.

Although Charise “Reece” Parris’ first collection conveys a sense of ease and simplicity,  her design journey has been more complicated.

Those gathered at Port St Charles for the most recent edition of Bimhaus saw a collection called The Bare Essentials.  Reece calls it a “selfdom 101 remix of some of the basic wardrobe essentials”.

“It’s clothing that you can mix and match to create several different looks and it can also take you from day to night. I chose the basics because those are some of the main ingredients of impeccable style and versatility. Those looks were the first instalment of the collection, so yes there’s a part two,” she tells InMyWardrobe.

 

A Long Journey

But let’s talk about what led to this point. Reece recalls that fashion was a part of her life for as long as she can remember. Growing up with an aunt who was a seamstress, Reece helped her out and even worked on her own school uniforms.

By age 14 she was devouring fashion magazines brought home by her uncle. She sketched her favourite designs and altered some of the styles.

Yet when it came time to apply to Barbados Community College, fashion wasn’t her first or second choice.

“I had signed up to do information technology and Spanish and Italian for business and tourism.  I believed that was my purpose because I loved working with computers and from studying IT at CXC level, I got to learn more about how they work and I chose foreign languages because of my wanderlust.”

A post shared by SELFDOM 101 (@selfdom101) on

But a summer job in 2009 pushed her to take a different path.

“I’d gotten a job working as an assistant web developer and it was then that I realised how much I’d hate having an office job. I was bored out of my mind. I remember I would always spend my lunch hour or spare time thinking about fashion, observing people and their style or researching fashion and it took me six weeks that summer and the day before my BCC interview to realise l signed up for the wrong course.”

Reece followed her heart and applied for the fashion programme.  She was accepted but unfortunately, it was not happily ever after.

“College was no joke and the workload was insane. I was already going through so many changes that I was still trying to get accustomed to and I was not good at handling any of it. I was lost and I did not survive past my first year. I was distraught and spiralled deeper into a whirlwind of depression. I made two more attempts at completing the programme, bearing in mind that the degree programme is only offered every two years. Both times I thought to myself, yessss this is it, I’m ready, I will pass and I will graduate. I still wasn’t passing and I still didn’t graduate.”

Instead, Reece took what she learned and continued to practise at home, designing and making clothing for herself until she got her first client and started doing custom-made clothing.

Selfdom 101

Learning Self-Love

Selfdom 101 is the product of Reece’s trials and journey to self-love. She recalls how she tried to change to suit other people’s idea of who she should be and what she should wear.

“Obviously, because of that I became even more misunderstood than I already was. People would always comment on how weird I am and I was literally always in defence mode trying to explain myself to people. I wanted so badly to be liked that I ended up not liking myself in the process.”

Eventually, Reece learned to accept herself and her unique style and now she wants the same for other women.

“I went through a lot of different phases and with every phase came a different fashion sense. I dressed, and still dress,  to suit my mood and reflect aspects of who I am. I’m not the only one. There’s no greater feeling than just loving and expressing yourself despite what people may say or think.”

The young designer’s  desire is for selfdom 101 to help women achieve freedom of expression.

“We’re not just a fashion brand we’re a lifestyle brand,” she says, noting that the aim is to cultivate spaces for women to  “inspire, be inspired, create and simply be”.

selfdom 101

Selfdom 101 is targeted at the woman who likes to make a statement.

“She’s quirky, fun, bold, an influencer just by embracing all that she is, a game changer. She’s the woman some people will try their hardest to forget but can’t.”

If that’s you, get your hands on some selfdom 101 ready-to-wear clothing, accessories and leather sandals. Just contact Reece with the design you like. Include the colour, your size and  “how soon you’d like to go from seeing it online, to hanging in your closet and better yet, on you.”

*Photos and video by Reco Moore.*