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TONI THORNE: Vanity behind Crop Over


TONI THORNE: Vanity behind Crop Over

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TWO WEEKS AGO while chatting with one of Trinidad’s leading bandleaders, he asked if we were still selling Kadooment costumes for $200  and inquired about whether the costume market is indeed a viable business for outside investors. 

My mouth dropped open as I began to explain to this Carnival veteran how things have changed over the years with regards to Crop Over and how, in its very own way, Kadooment has evolved and continues to evolve.

Barbadians continue to discuss the growth of Foreday (that is another article) but Kadooment is definitely a space to watch as the interest of many participants continues to once again rise. One hopes that the National Cultural Foundation is happy about this. Grand Kadooment costume changes over the past 20 years are stark. Some claim that some aspects of Kadooment are now selling “vanity and exclusivity”.

While we may choose to agree or disagree with this sentiment, the obvious change in some quarters must be viewed as evolution and the point must be made that there is still a band for every choice and every pocket – “Eva clot’ got a buyer”. 

In another conversation, one lady lamented about the vanity behind Crop Over and we tried to calculate how much it costs to experience this new side of the festival. This season’s most elaborate costume was rumoured to be sold for a whopping $10 000 – a claim which has not been denied by representatives of its entity. 

All revellers want to look their best for Crop Over and Kadooment. Gyms get booked to the point where the regular gym users “goh beg a bly” to utilise the equipment and time limits are placed on walls instructing users of these strict time limits. Diet pills are advertised, special diets are shared among girlfriends and carbs are expunged from most meals.

The philosophy is that the skimpier the costume, the flatter the stomach and the tighter the muscles must be. Some people hold the view that “feathers, beads and wire bra mas” trump a theme. Most revellers in this new experience do not care whether their band is judged on Kadooment Day or the costumes follow a creative theme. 

There are also conversations about Botox and fillers. Many Barbadians seem unaware that these procedures are done locally. Barbados is quite advanced in providing these services and these developments are now available to citizens and not just celebrities. Kadooment for some is a parade of who has the best done implants as these too are very much “on show” on the big day. The newest trend for 2015 would be the butt injections which are a part of the Brazilian butt lift trend. According to Erphaan Alves, “Bumper like rain!”                 

Gone are the days when one would slap lines of vaseline across the face and a few dashes of confetti. Make-up artists get a spike in income as this new experience leads some to get their faces professionally done for their staple list of events. Believe it or not, 2 a.m. Kadooment make-up appointments are a reality if some want the opportunity for top Barbadian make-up artists to “beat their faces to the gods” for as much as $250. Of course, Remy sales increase as well.  

Footwear has become a huge consideration. I was even wondering if people still buy Flames and get them spray-painted for Kadooment Day or the karate-type shoes that were quite a trend circa ten years ago. According to Fashionistas, heels are now the trend and they must match the costumes. Bedazzled mid-thigh boots, cups and handbags are given the nod as a fashion statement. Bedazzling is now a service many creatives seem to be offering this Kadooment as well. 

Enclosed lounges on the road are now promoted as part of the new Crop Over experience as well as champagne and personal assistants. The reasoning behind this is that comfort is a factor that needs to be addressed.

One person criticised this and referred to it as a scenic ride and a jump. 

Instagram logs pictures and outfits. Many seek not to rewear outfits throughout the festivities. It is interesting to consider the sales for local boutiques during Crop Over with the new experience of all-inclusive events dominating the calendar. 

My grandmother told me that if participants in the “new” Crop Over prepared for Christ like they prepared for Kadooment, Jesus would be well pleased. I am sure He would be.

Toni Thorne is a young entrepreneur and World Economic Forum Global Shaper who loves global youth culture, a great debate and living in paradise. Email [email protected]