Fashion designers often get overlooked when they aren’t internationally known. Adrian Foster may not be an international star in fashion, but the designs included in the Adrian Foster brand are demanding attention. Kreol introduces Foster, as an artist and the individual.

Fashion designers epitomise the creativity of the human mind. Just as artists and musicians create brilliant pieces or albums using inspiration from the world around them, so too does a fashion designer, drawing upon culture, environment, and people to develop a brand and style that is unique. Fashion designers use this inspiration to piece together colours, patterns, and clothing lines that express their interpretation of the world around them in a form that people can wear, and in turn, express a little bit of who they are as an individual.

Adrian Foster is a young designer from Trinidad. His work is helping establish not only an industry within the island nation, but also build a niche market for clothing inspired by the rhythm of life and the culture of the people of Trinidad.

Career at a Glance

Foster might not have international recognition, but that doesn’t mean that the Adrian Foster brand has never appeared on the global stage and earned the designer accolades. Foster’s collection has been displayed at New York Fashion Week 2014 and the UTT Thesis Fashion Show, NAPA 2012. Although Foster struggled with sewing early on, creating a men’s shirt as a first finished product, Foster’s line-up today includes women’s clothing inspired by the Caribbean.

Foster’s career may be in its infancy at this point, but the awards have already begun piling up. In addition to Fashion Panache’s Designer of the Year 2011 award, Foster has been honoured with a Caribbean Academy of Fashion and Design: Thesis Fashion Showcase Most Promising Designer award (2013) and the University of Trinidad and Tobago President’s Award for Graduate Entrepreneur of the Year (2014).

Adrian Foster:

The Designer Foster’s approach to design relies more on fresh, clean lines and engaging patterns than vibrant colours that catch the eye and turn heads. Currently, the brand focuses on women’s clothing, offering a lifestyle collection that allows individuals to mix and match different pieces to express themselves through the clothes. Most of the pieces in Foster’s collection are monochromatic, focusing on the interplay between black and white, rather than infusing bright, vibrant colours.

Using cotton and other fine linens available locally in Trinidad, Foster is building a brand based upon simple pieces that people can wear any day, for any occasion. Foster’s designs have already gained the attention of the likes of Miss Trinidad, who wore some pieces from Foster’s collections on a recent trip to Miami for a fashion show. Model Annie Annionshay donned a few of Foster’s pieces on Project Runway in 2013.

Sources of Inspiration

Like any artist, Foster draws inspiration from the local culture and the people who will be wearing his design. Foster works hard to get inside the head of his clients and tries to develop a line of clothing that matches the desires of the client, appeals to their sense of fashion, and integrates the feel of the Caribbean. Foster describes the inspiration and design process as follows:

“Most of it is the client themself and I try to fuse that with the culture back at home, the Caribbean lifestyle and then try to understand you know, what the client would want, and trying to create this in a sense of resort way. So I’m thinking about these type of events when they travel to Caribbean islands and when they come, when the clients come home to the Caribbean you know to get away from the cold and they need something just glamorous, you know I call it affordable luxury, so it’s the, you buying into the artistic style of it…”

Where it All Started

With any great artistic mind, there are signs from a young age that a raw talent is there to be moulded. Musicians sing in church choirs or local musical groups in early childhood. Artists play with paints and pencils, creating fanciful drawings that serve as a sign of things to come. As a fashion designer, Foster’s youth was no different. At an early age, imaginative sketches and character drawings were the clues of Foster’s talent.

All it took to develop that talent was the help of a family friend in the fashion and beauty industry in Trinidad. Foster worked backstage doing hair and makeup, but felt the allure of the models onstage. The beauty of these individuals in the stunning garments they wore inspired Foster to draw more, to create sketches of dresses that would fit those models.

Adrian Foster (right)  with fashion collegue and graduate of CAFD, Mark Eastman

Adrian Foster (right) with fashion collegue and graduate of CAFD, Mark Eastman

That talent was almost lost to the world though. Foster looked for a place to get formal training, but the fashion schools in New York and around the globe were far too expensive. Fortunately, an educational program emerged at the University of Trinidad that allowed Foster to finish college and launch a fashion career locally.

Fashion Shows as Marketing Tools

Foster, admittedly, has not travelled a great deal internationally. While Foster’s designs have appeared in numerous (at least a dozen) shows in Trinidad, they’ve only appeared in New York and London internationally as part of organized shows. For Foster, it’s all about marketing the brand and exposing the world to the fashion designers and creations coming out of Trinidad.

With trips to London and New York under Foster’s belt, the fashion line is gaining the exposure it needs to succeed, and Foster is receiving the mentorship and guidance required to stay the course. So what does the future hold for Foster’s brand?

“For now I’m focusing on self-development, creating those connections, so that everything that I do it helps support my business, so in terms of getting a proper outlet, not only that but have the proper source for raw materials, having production in place, having a good marketing plan, so I’m not just going forward blind, I know I have these connections and I think from the designer and programmes I’ll get information on how to do proper sourcing and how to do proper marketing, creating a proper plan so that I can now move forward with this whole experience.”

Adrian Foster: The Person

It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the professional accomplishments, the hopes, dreams, and desires of an artist like Adrian Foster. What about the person behind those designs? Foster was asked a difficult question during the sit-down with Kreol Magazine: “if you were given three wishes, what would they be?”

“That’s a hard question! Three wishes would be, I mean I don’t want to be rich, but I just want to have a sustainable life, I want my business to obviously flourish. Secondly, just to make sure that the life that I chose and this business, it’s sustainable for my life and my family, and my third wish would be that God keeps me, because every day I say ‘Lord these are the hands that you’ve blessed me with and I hope that you never take them away.”

When it’s time to relax, Foster uses his free time to get together with family. Trying a new restaurant or seeing the latest movie is high on the list, but don’t be surprised to see this fashion designer in the kitchen with mom. Foster’s mother is a chef who owns her own business. Foster’s favourite dishes are East-Indian style curry. One of his favourites is a chickpea curry with potatoes, and the other is a Paratha Roti.