Category Archives: Designer Profile

10 Questions with Cherise Harris of Wilhelmina Heart

Over the summer one of the things that caught my eye was a prototype bag displayed by Wilhelmina Heart at the Pompasette Pop-up. It had a colourful mango print, multiple compartments despite its small size and high-quality trimmings.

The bags are now available for purchase and I thought this would be the perfect time to introduce you to the brand and its founder, Cherise Harris.

Cherisse Harris.

It’s also the perfect kick-off to the “10 Questions With… ” segment on the blog. If you are in any area of the style and fashion industry and you want to be featured, send me an email at natasha@inmywardrobebarbados.com. You could be a model, clothing or accessory designer, stylist or fashion photographer. If you’re involved in fashion, I want to know about you.

Now on to the fabulousness that is Wilhelmina Heart.

1.   How did Wilhelmina Heart get started?

I had the idea a few years ago actually, originally launching in 2014. I am an illustrator and my desire was to see my art on products. The name Wilhelmina is my mother’s middle name, so it had the great unique quality I was looking for, but was also meaningful to me. At the time I was hand making everything, but I also had hopes of pursuing a Masters degree, and I realised that it wasn’t the right time for me.

Since then I studied overseas and then I got married, so I feel like now is the time to revisit this idea and pursue this using everything I have learned. We re-launched over the summer with bigger and better ideas. My focus has been on the design process, and we have been working with local and overseas manufacturers to bring the ideas from design to final product.

2.    What are some of the products you offer?

Currently, we offer hair accessories and bags, specifically our satin head ties and our first bag design, a mango print convertible crossbody/ wristlet bag.

3.     Who is the Wilhelmina Heart target customer?

Our customers are fun at heart and love colour and patterns. They are either looking for that unique accessory to add a pop of colour to their outfit, or looking to mix patterns and colours. They love to express themselves through their fashion choices.

4.     Do you design your own fabrics?

Yes, I design all our fabrics which are then custom printed to be manufactured into our products. Our design aesthetic is very Caribbean oriented. Taking local elements like mangos and green monkeys, and using them in patterns and applying them to products that you may not often see them on.

5.     What inspired the convertible crossbody/wristlet bag? 

We were making a decision on what would be the best bag to launch first. At the time it was soon Crop Over, and I wanted to design something that would make a great ‘fete bag’. It had to be neat, but at the same time we love compartments and having a space for everything. It also had to be versatile, for those who like to be hands free with a long strap, or hands free with a wrist strap. Our bag is leather and water repellent canvas. It can hold your phone, keys, make-up and has a zip pocket for some cash, and it’s the perfect bag for a party, night out, or if you’re traveling light while shopping.

6.     How can we get one in our wardrobes?

Currently, you can order through email at wilhelminaheart@gmail.com, or WhatsApp 846 4537. If you’re interested in seeing the bag before purchase, you can contact us to arrange that as well or follow us on Instagram and Facebook to see where we will be next as we are hoping to be at local farmers markets as Christmas nears. Also look out for the launch of our website in November, at which point you will be able to order online worldwide.

7.     Are there plans for other bag designs?

Yes, we have many ideas in our vault. For this bag, in particular, we want to bring it out in various colours and patterns. We also have plans for larger bag designs as well.

8.     What motivates you as an accessory designer?

My background is as an illustrator, and my inspiration for my work has always been combining storytelling and the flora and fauna of Barbados and the Caribbean. Bringing these ideas to the products excites me, and I’m always looking forward to bringing something fresh and seeing how the final product will look and how our customers will respond.

Wilhelmina Heart, satin headties

9.     How does your personal style influence your designs?

I love colour and pattern, but I also love function, and so I try to bring this combination to my designs. I want to make accessories that can hold what you need or have the function you want, while exciting you and allowing you to express yourself through your fashion.

10.   Where do you see Wilhelmina Heart in another five years?

In another five years, I see Wilhelmina Heart expanding our list of products, as well as our reach of customers. We aim to continue learning and growing, and my biggest dream is for us to be a brand synonymous with quality and the Caribbean, representing a fun and contemporary Caribbean aesthetic.

 

Ronna Watson Gets Creative with RW Couture Designs

You name it and it seems Ronna Watson of RW Couture Designs either makes it or plans to make it.

She creates jewellery from fabric, wire, rope, leather, feathers, beads and crystals but also learned to use clay and metal.

Ronna Watson, RW Couture Designs
Manager of RW Couture Designs, Ronna Watson.

Ronna tells InMyWardrobe she made her first wedding band a few years ago and recently started making bow ties and jewellery for dogs and jewellery for dog and cat’ lovers and owners.

There’s more.

“I design inspirational words/ sentences for T-shirts and will be featuring a clothing line in the very near future along with sandals designs. I also manufacture wristlets and bags,” she reveals.

RW Couture Designs

 

Told you she did it all!

If you’re wondering about the backstory, you’ve come to the right place.

RW Couture Designs started out as  Simply Divine Creations  and has been in existence since February 2010.

Ronna says she always believed she needed to show the world her creativity. She also saw becoming a jewellery designer as a great opportunity to become a part-time entrepreneur while at home with her daughter.

RW Couture Designs

She underwent basic wire bending training with Angela Went of Angelique Creations and currently, beaded and wire pieces have proven to be the most popular.

Rope accessories are also catching on.

DIVINE INSPIRATION

Ronna says a lot of her inspiration comes from within.

“I usually communicate with the Creator and His guidance is seen in the products. There is a peace that is always evident on completion of the pieces as I am guided by Him. In addition, I love to create unique pieces and that is largely due to my uniqueness,” she says.

RW Couture Designs

Unsurprisingly, Ronna designs for ladies who “embrace their unique style and embrace their unique personality”.

“They are usually quiet and calm but have a necessary fierce personality when required. They are confident in themselves. Most of my clients are mature ladies ranging from 25-55 years old,” she explains.

RW Couture Designs

If you think I’ve told you all that Ronna makes, you’re wrong. She also manufactures unique home decor pieces including burlap and cotton table mats, some of which are reversible.

This very talented lady with the gifted hands plans to have a one-stop store in the near future but in the meantime, you can reach her on Facebook, Instagram and via her website.

You can also email rwcouturedesigns@gmail.com.

 

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.