Fashion is her calling
GAYNELDER GRAZETTE WAS born to design and make clothes.
At least, that’s the way it seems when she tells the story of how she started Kudos Designs.
And with fashion-forward people wanting to stand out from the crowd, the demand for one-of-a-kind pieces is increasing.
From the time she was very young, her dolls – a girl and a boy – had to look good so she made their clothing. At the age of 16, she started sketching designs. Then, in 2005, she attended the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP) to hone her skills.
“Getting into fashion was a calling. I went to a career showcase at the [Wildey] Gymnasium when I was about to leave school and I was encouraged to sign up for the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic. From the time I got there, teachers wanted to know if I had ever done it before because I just picked up on it. That’s history. I just ended up in it like that,” Grazette told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY.
By the second year, she made her SJPP uniform, reasoning that her mum was sending her to school and it was best that she picked up on what she was learning.
Fuelled by that passion, sense of fashion and skills, it was not long after completing her job attachment that she started making more clothes.
“I went with this lady in St John and she really taught me a lot. She taught me basically to have confidence and understand that . . . everything is a learning process and you have to be confident. Sometimes you might make a mistake but the customer doesn’t know you did and it is not okay to say you can’t do it. Be confident,” she said.
“Then I started to get customers; people wanted me to make stuff and I would take them even though I was not always 100 per cent sure.
“It’s like driving; you really learn to drive after [getting the licence]. You get better as time goes by once you’re willing to learn and understand that you are not the best; so you know it’s a learning process every day.
“After that I built my clientele and I decided I wanted to take this further because I was going into the start of a needleworker kind of style, but I always had fashion in me. I would always design things outside the box and people would like the clothes I wear. So I decided I wanted to go further so that’s what made me decide to go back to the [Barbados Community College].”
Grazette, who enrolled in the associate degree programme in fashion design, described that period as “rough” because she had to balance the long hours at school with satisfying her customers’ requests.
The small businesswoman designs and sews clothing for all occasions and with any fabric. She added that she made the newspaper suit worn by the male winner of Graydon Sealy Secondary School’s Model Search.
“Barbados’ fashion is not all out there when it comes to people, so it’s not that you can say you are strictly going to be a fashion designer. Sometimes you have to make things that people want. I try to stay away from uniforms, I don’t make working clothes because they bore me. Things that are repetitive bore me but otherwise I make every other thing out there,” she said.
The designer now also makes men’s clothing after being bombarded with requests. She said she was intrigued by their clothes and when asked to “do something” with a pants, she added zips, pieces of leather and it was a hit.
Kudos Designs has been on the BMEX runway and will be again.
“When my design studio is finished, I want to bring someone from the SJPP to train so that person can help expand my business. To be honest, I have lots of work and I’m only one person. Then I want to bring out Kudos Collections, which is an extension of things that I would be making, designed by me,” she said, adding that she wanted to export to another Caribbean country.
“Right now I’m just doing my thing but I want to be really comfortable and really put my designs out there instead of making things for people. I want to push my collection and get into male clothing a lot.”