Creole fashion is making waves all over the world. Creole fashion designers are studying at prestigious colleges, introducing their own collections, and establishing their own websites. Their unusual designs impress fashion critics all over the world.
Young designers from the Seychelles and Mauritius are winning fashion contests and showing their collections at fashion shows. Many of them want to help their countries become thriving design centres. Even if these young designers study in London and Italy, they often want to return home to establish their fashion houses. Most of them are also anxious to mentor and teach other ambitious young designers.
Fashion shows and fashion contests are also being held in Creole countries. These are helping young and talented designers become noticed. These young designers also benefit from the lessons taught at the contests by experienced fashion manufacturers.
Seychellois Fashion Designers
Successful fashion designers from the Seychelles include Karine Dupouy and Santasha Houareau. They have both established their own businesses in the islands and their designs are highly regarded by fashion critics. Kankan, Karine Dupouy’s brand is increasingly famous overseas.
Karine Dupouy studied at the esteemed Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design in London. She then obtained placements with Franck Sabier’s Paris haute-couture house and the famous Italian textile suppliers, Ratti. She recently decided to return to the Seychelles.
The name of Dupouy’s brand, Kankan, means ‘spread the word’ in Creole. Word is certainly spreading about Dupouy’s ready-to-wear and haute-couture collections. Her designs include feminine dresses and shorts in vibrant floral and tribal prints suitable for casual and resort wear. These clothes were influenced by the tropical and colourful landscape of the Seychelles.
Dupouy’s collections also include elegant evening gowns. Some of these are soft, silky dresses with pleats. Photos of black gowns with long and flowing skirts also adorn Dupouy’s website. One unusual black outfit is divided into two parts. The bodice with elbow-length sleeves ends just below the bust. The waist-high skirt is filmy and ethereal. Even though a band of skin shows above the skirt, fashion critics still find the outfit beautiful and graceful.
Santasha Houareau is an up-and-coming designer from the Seychelles. Only 29, she specialises in wedding dresses and owns her own boutique, the Wedding House shop in Orion Mall, Victoria. Houareau entered the Origin Fibre to Fashion Africa contest held in Mauritius in March, 2011. Contestants had to design clothes showing the culture of their countries with a modern trend for this competition. They also had to design accessories. Houareau designed outfits which were inspired by the seascape of the Seychelles for the competition. The audience at the show included buyers from the U.S., Europe, and South Africa.
Houareau told the Seychelles Nation newspaper that she gained valuable experience at the contest. Entrants learned from professionals about marketing skills, for example, the importance of having a website and why trade shows are better than fashion shows for designers who want to sell their products overseas.
Mauritian Fashion Designers
Two Mauritian fashion designers who are making their mark in the country include Annabelle Fleury and Samuel Yeung. These talented designers have also won attention overseas.
Annabelle Fleury studied at the Ecole de Condéand returned to Mauritius after her studies. She recently introduced her brand, Oriya, which also has its own website. Fleury has obtained overseas buyers through her website. She also has her own Facebook page.
Fleury designs reasonably-priced clothes for the emancipated, modern and active woman. Her clothes are also very attractive and colourful. Her ready-to-wear collection, the Demoiselle Collection, was inspired by the vibrant marine life of Mauritius. She wanted to use the colours that are prevalent in the fish and coral of the islands, such as the parrot fish and the shellfish. The outfits are mainly bright blue, cream, and coral. Fuchsia and pink colours were inspired by the coral. Fleury’s collection includes feminine dresses with fluted ruffles like the cauliflower coral in the seas around Mauritius.
Fleury also designs jewellery. This was also inspired by the marine life of the island. For example, her jewellery designs include earrings made of carved wood with a seaweed pattern and fuchsia acrylic beads.
Samuel Yeung studied at the exalted Central Saint Martin’s College in London. Young and ambitious, he has an unusual philosophy of fashion. He calls fashion ‘the big shout’. His designs include floral bubble-shaped skirts and dresses draped like pashminas.
Yeung won the Heat Fashion Tour Designers Creativity Contest 2011 in the Professionals Category in 2011. He now teaches Fashion and Textile at the University of Mauritius. He will also be taking his designs to China and India.
These are just a few of the young designers from the Seychelles and Mauritius. There are many more, including Sweetie Ramlagun and Nimah Rawah. These young designers are helping to build a thriving fashion industry in the Seychelles and Mauritius. Their collections are attracting increasing attention from fashion-lovers all over the world.