In less than…wait for it…. 20 days, the streets of Notting Hill Carnival will be ablaze with the sounds of soca music, steel pan, and calypso belting out from the sound systems neatly perched on the numerous trucks accompanying masqueraders as they sashay down the road. The icing cladding this picturesque sight will be the beautiful adorned bodies of masquearaders wearing jewelled, colourful costumes bringing the grey streets to life in a flurry of rainbow colours. This will be the wondrous sight that all have been waiting for and the culmination of the hard work of those involved fruitfully coming to life.
There are numerous mas bands/groups accompanying the NHC 2013 this year all bringing their own taste of style and design and it is often the popular ones known for their unique delivery that catch the wandering eye, drawing in gasps of shortened breath and bringing about a heightened sense of elation. As the biggest day on the Caribbean calendar draws nearer, it was apt that I took time out to speak to one such group of masqueraders.
Trinity Design Collective, the collective joining Eclipse Mas on the road this year, first captured my steely gaze at the launch of Poison UK last year. It was the well-produced cinematic intro that captured my eye and ever since then I have been in awe of the collective ladies who have tirelessly worked to bring their vision to life. Their 2013 presentation under the patronage of UK Chocolate Nation/Eclipse Mas undoubtedly cemented their position in my eyes as the group to watch in the future years to come. Drawing on from the words of the renowned Maya Angelou, I love to see a group of talented astute ladies go out and grab the world by the lapels and drawn in by curiosity had to find out who these ladies really were about.
UKSS: Hi Ladies, thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule and accommodating me at such short notice. So without wasting time, in a nutshell who is Trinity Design Collective, which islands do you represent and what inspired your name?
TDC: Firstly thank you so much for considering us for the interview! We were totally psyched after receiving your questions-.
UKSS: Well thanks to you Ladies for accommodating, it was a pleasure one had to jump to.
TDC: Well Trinity Design Collective includes a trio of designing sisters Simone, Makesha, and Azaria Gary-Newbolt, along with my childhood best friend and co-founder & Head of Business Operations, Barbie Munro. Azaria pretty much came up with the main part of our name “Trinity” which encompasses the spiritual meaning and representing the bond of sisterhood and we all agreed it was perfect for us. Barbie followed up and penned us with the “Design Collective” as WE not only create Mas but we are involved with many other creative projects including, Fashion Design, Graphic Design, Body Art, Event Design etc. TDC collectively represent the twin islands of Trinidad & Tobago and the Spice Island of Grenada.
UKSS: You have had quite a journey to date, of which I am sure readers and new masqueraders would like to find out more and get to know you better? Let us begin with your journey; body artwork, to designing costumes and then forming a band?
TDC: We have always participated in Mas both as masqueraders and as Mas makers for as long as we can remember even way before the body art days. We were blessed to be a part of Light house Players, a West London Mas band and as youngsters would help our Mum with making costumes for the children’s section for Kiddies Carnival year in, year out for as long as we can remember.
Both Simone & Makesha moved out to the States where the West Indian Culture is obviously a lot bigger than in the UK and were exposed to Carnivals around North America and Canada. It was there that we would paint ourselves and then take a jump in Labor Day, Miami, DC and Caribana and would always get asked where we got our make-up from. We had started out painting our own fellow band members at Lighthouse Players and also Genesis UK people would wait on long lines to be adorned!
UKSS: How long have you been operating as a mas band and what has been the overall feedback from all those associated with you?
TDC: Firstly let me just clarify that we are not a mas band we operate as an independent section. The beauty of it gives us the opportunity to collaborate with different entities both inside and out of the soca arena. This is our 4th season overall and feedback from our customers – has been giving good customer service as valuing our masqueraders is always our highest priority. This past year we participated in the New Year’s parade with Flagz, as well as providing costumes for the Miss Trinidad & Tobago UK association.
UKSS: Okay, that is something new that I have learnt. So I believe part of the team has vast experience in the fashion industry. So who designs those edgy couture costumes and often what is the inspiration behind the themes?
TDC: As sisters we have a combined professional experienc
We always put our own spin to it – So this year is Glamour – We put a twist to even the name and called our section Glam – Amor – “Celebrating the Love of Glamour”. Barbie comes up with the titles and section names as creative writing is her forte. Our creative twist on the ensemble came from taking elements of what was trending in fashion. We are all big on color and the Ombre trend just spoke a thousand words to us! Funny enough we also are a fan of the hit TV show Dancing With the Stars and loved the fringing elements that are rocked on many of their costumes! In general we get our inspiration from a fusion of a variety of different things, TV, Street Fashion, Movies, an accessory. It can be almost anything and we are constantly scouring for new ideas as its second nature. We never stop sourcing new ideas and working!! We already have ideas for next year and thereafter!!
We dream of one day being able to dictate the theme of our own band and we would totally turn the game upside down.
UKSS: Besides body artwork and costumes you also offer other fashion services. What are these and how can people access your portfolio to date?
TDC: We offer an array of corporate design services primarily in apparel Men & Womenswear. We also offer a face painting service for children’s events as well as branded events digital printables. Whilst we focus on NHC as a showcase for prospective masqueraders, our new look site currently under construction is where people can see a complete product offering once complete.
UKSS: On the road with Eclipse Mas this year (an affiliation with UK Chocolate Nation). How did the relationship and partnership come about and what is your theme for 2013.
Mike Forbes from UK Chocolate Nation was always interested and impressed with our costumes last year for 2012 as well as our video presentation and approached us to find out what our options were for this year. The theme was set by Eclipse and is entitled “Glamour”.
UKSS: Okay, let us talk Poison UK. I believe you had an epic premier screening of your 2012 presentation and from a distance things looked rosy, what made you depart and join Eclipse Mas Band this year?
TDC: Our partnership was actually with Dynasty a subsidiary of Poison UK. It came about as they had a need for us to facilitate Pretty mas costumes and we worked with them for 3 years as it was mutually beneficial for both parties. They have now have in house designers to fill that need and this has given us the platform to step out on our own. We still have a great relationship with both Dynasty & Poison UK and are thankful for the platform that they have given us.
UKSS: You are well known for your creative screenings preceding your costume showcase at almost every band launch. What inspired this and who is the creative producer?
TDC: This is the fun part literally, as we conceptually think about the direction of the costumes simultaneously we think about the video! Collectively we are always thinking of ways to present outside of the box. With the popularity of YouTube, vimeo and Instagram
UKSS: What separates you from other band designers and what do you offer to those wishing to adorn your designs what would deem you unique?
TDC: We strive for originality and we understand in mas like in the fashion industry pretty much everything has been “done before! So for us it’s about finding that twist and along the way creating a bold statement. We believe that our costumes do just that! Whether it’s by using a unique color palette or trending accessories such as spikes and chains like we did last year.
And this year with the Ombre – Ultimately we want our masqueraders not only to be satisfied with their purchase for that one day at carnival but also have the desire to want to wear it again and again!
UKSS: In your eyes how has carnival evolved and what are your thoughts on the current state of mas bands?
TDC: Carnival is a showcase for Caribbean culture at its finest and the culture is something which is not static. It is always evolving with the dedication of the masqueraders, the mas makers and all the bands our culture will continue to evolve. We create bikini mas which covers a growing market.
Obviously we would love to continue to see more traditional mas on the road unfortunately many bands don’t get the opportunity due to lack of funding.
UKSS: Besides carnival are you involved in other events locally and abroad?
TDC: Yes as explained earlier above in addition to that we collaborate each year with China Mas, Miami carnival with body artistry for their band.
UKSS: How easy is it for people to find out more about you and to sign up and get access to information about costumes?
TDC: It is so simple just go to our website: Trinitydesigncollective.com, select your choice of costume, make your payment and they are in there like swimwear
UKSS: And on behalf of Eclipse Mas, what can masqueraders old and new expect on the road this year with you, Trinity Design Collective?
TDC: Masqueraders can expect to strut their stuff in a fabulous unique costume,
UKSS: And on that note thank you Ladies and wish you a fabulous glamorous Carnival and future success with your endeavors.
Last but not least, not forgetting Team Trinity are offering exclusive discounted nail appointments to match your carnival costume on August 23rd 9am-8pm. So get booking as limited spaces are available!!
Further information can be found here: Trinity Design Collective