By Jovan Ravello
The woman who is arguably one of this country’s most intriguing designers held no punches under the mango tree at the front of her new minimalist studio on Carlos Street, Woodbrook last week, when she told TLb that she was again opting out of showing at Trinidad & Tobago’s Fashion Week 2011.
“A lot of designers are not going to like what I have to say,” she warned, “but Fashion Week should be paneled. Designers should aspire to show at fashion week. And there should be one evening where you have the up and coming designers – designers who are not already established; so I found that some of the designers who showed (last year) weren’t ready.”
Meiling shocked Fashion Week patrons when she pulled her Noir collection from last year’s Fashion Week roster, following a fall-out with FWTT organisers, and, instead, joining Anya Ayoung-Chee, Va$htie Kola and Nick Salloum at Antilia’s blow out be. fashion weekend. While she believes that a more regulatory process would significantly enhance the profile of FWTT (especially after the organising committee hinted at a new format that would require designers to pay a registration fee to showcase their collections this year), the veteran designer expects better.
“When I went to Plataforma K, or if I wanted to do the Coterie in New York, I couldn’t just go and pay,” Meiling stated. ”To go to Barranquilla, to go to New York, you send your samples, they have to read your bio, see if you’re export ready, if the quality is good, the fit, the concept… and then they accept you. And this is any good fashion show because they can’t just take everyone. Because a buyer or press are not going to sit down through designers who are not ramp worthy to see one good designer.”
Which is what, according to Meiling, makes what happened last year quite ironic.
“They questioned me, who has been in the business – and okay, I can have a bad collection – but they questioned me about what music I was going to use after I had just come back from a huge show and used that music, and they wanted my music edited. And they may disagree with this, but that was the problem. I should have had a phone call saying ‘could you submit your music’, instead I got a phone call saying your music has to be edited. I took offense to that.”
She was however, quick to debunk rumours of war between the Fashion Association of Trinidad and Tobago (FATT) and Fashion Week T&T (FWTT).
“No, no. Not at all. I’m not aware of it. FATT is doing what it has to do and I’m sure FWTT is doing what they want. They have an amazing board set up and I’m sure it’s going to be quite successful. Fashion week, in terms of attendance, was very successful (last year) – which is good because in a way it is making Trinidadians aware of the talent that we have here and also about buying local, and I think that’s an important role that fashion week has to play in Trinidad and Tobago. I would love Fashion Week to succeed!”
[News] Meiling: "A lot of designers are not going to like what I have to say…",