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In the pink of things


Natanga Smith Hurdle

In the pink of things

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There is something causing quite a stir and it is called Pink Lemonade – no, not the refreshing drink made from lemon juice, sugar, water and grenadine but a dynamic clothing label that serves up clothing that has you feeling comfortable, sexy and confident all at the same time.
From flirty floral dresses to mid-thigh jumpsuits with ruffles, the designing duo of Rotchelle Parris and Daisy Lyn Ward have been staying true to their motto of keeping their clothing line – Pink Lemonade (just a thought-up moniker) – original, while making sure it has their signature look.
What is amazing is that the line isn’t even a year old, having debuted at Barbados Fashion Week last October. For them, getting their big break was being in the right place at the right time.
Leah Marville, then Miss Barbados/World, spotted them at a show in their own designs and she asked for a piece of her own (Leah wore the dress for a magazine cover). And that was the start of their making clothes for other people.
Both women agree that “the love of clothes was a definite draw to fashion and the idea of being able to change how women look or feel simply through their wardrobe was the pull as a designer”.
They met through a mutual friend and realised that they had the same interests. Their creative sides also meshed when they realised they both loved designing.
The girls were the lone Barbadian designers to showcase at the annual Tobago Fashion Week, held at picturesque Pigeon Point in Tobago in May, along with 20 other designers.
“The organizers of Tobago Fashion Week invited us and they went through local promoter Rodney Powers who made the necessary arrangements. We took 20 pieces, and there was a wide selection of models, so fitting was easy. We were very excited as that was our first regional show.”  The line, the duo said, was well received.
As they come up with designs, the girls are regulars at fabric stores in Bridgetown, looking for that bolt that catches the eye to make a “stand-out outfit”.
Cotton is the go-to material: “We tend to work with cotton as it is lightweight and also easy to manipulate.”
For 2011 they see colour-blocking, ruffles and cut-outs being big trends.
Their show in Tobago was a first for them and so was the recent Barbados Manufacturers’ Exhibition (BMEX) fashion pavilion last month. 
“[BMEX] was a good experience and well organized so we weren’t nervous, just a bit excited. Any opportunity we get to show Pink Lemonade is welcome.”
And how do they feel when they see their designs on the runway? “We feel quite proud. We still can’t believe we have a line and we are getting great feedback.
“It just goes to show that you can do whatever you set your mind to.”
And one such thing is adding tie-dyed pieces to their collection, which was self-done.
“We wanted to add a different element to some of the pieces.
There was lots of playing with ideas and a bit of trial and error with the tie-dye.”
Daisy and Rotchelle stressed that a lot of time and effort go into creating an original piece for a show. How many they design depends on the time frame they have and how many pieces they wish to show.
The duo say their pet peeve is people’s misconceptions of locally made clothing: “Because it’s locally made doesn’t mean it should be sold cheaper than imported clothing, which is usually mass-produced. We don’t have a studio per se. We work from home and we both have our day jobs. It is a concentrated effort to juggle all that and still try to make pieces that make women look original and complement them.”
Citing designers such as Mondo, Seth Aaron, Zac Posen, Roberto Cavalli, Betsy Johnson, Ellie Saab, and Maz Azria among their favourites, who would they love to style and why?
“Meagan Good, because she has a nice body and I would like to see her in something different from what she usually wears. And Tyra Banks because of her curvy figure and tall stature.”
With no formal training in fashion design, just a bit of research online and a few trials and errors, the girls say they have gotten “the hang of sewing”.
“We do all the samples (show pieces) and also most orders but will get help when it gets busy.”
The girls are busy getting ready for a few local shows and are looking to travel again to regional fashion shows.
They have been approached by strangers impressed with their outfits, then amazed that they are self made. An order usually follows.
The best perk of being a designer, they admit, “is being able to make a one-of-a-kind design for yourself”.
 

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