Haiti Fashion Week: Part 2!

Fashion Week 2012

During the weekend of November 8th-11th, The Republic of Haiti hosted its inaugural Fashion Week.  The event was sponsored by the European Union.  The show was coordinated with the help of several organizations, including the Haitian Support Center for the Promotion of Enterprise, Haitian Network of Designers, and the Ministry of Culture.  Fashion Week featured local Haitian boutique owners and worldwide style icons.  People all over the world, from the Dominican Republic to Japan, flocked to Port Au Prince to see 36 amazing, talented designers showcase their upcoming collections.

Because the climate in Haiti is perpetually mild and warm, the apparel lines consisted primarily of tropical resort-wear.  I was impressed by the intricate, artisan swimsuits, floral sun hats, and breezy, light layers.  In general, bright prints, tribal accents, and sheer overlays were the primary styling themes throughout the clothing.

Floral and safari graphics are mixed together in Milliance’s simple, yet beautiful outfit.



Giovanna Menard’s establishes a connection with nature, through earth-toned accessories and animal-printed fabrics.


Giovanna Menard:

According to Dominican-Republic designer Socrates McKinney, “Haiti has a very strong culture, and that in some sense has to be reflected in the fashion.”  The Haitian designers went above and beyond with incorporating heritage and history in their clothes.  The garments definitely portray the current social, cultural, and economic landscapes of Haiti – in fact, some intricate outfits were literally superimposed with two-dimensional, still-life works.

This dress by Verona, a native Haitian designer, reflects a scene from the Haitian War of Independence, an important part of Haiti’s history.  Verona displays reverence for Toussaint Louverture, Dessalines, Henry Cristophe, and Alexander Petion – the Founding Fathers of Haiti.

The soldier’s clothing on the dress resembles the military fashion of the era.  The jacket, top-hat, and fitted white pants were, like most armies’ attire at the time, inspired from the infamous uniforms of the British Redcoats.

Although the Caribbean-themed clothing was highly emulated, the evening wear truly spotlighted the Haitian designers’ artistic talents.  Each individual garment was stunning in its own, indescribable way.  However, I was especially fascinated by the show’s gradual day-to-night style shift throughout.  The same islander themes, color palettes, and graphics were still used as the clothing slowly transitioned to black-tie apparel.  The summery, tribal maxi-dresses were now embellished with sequins and beads.  Designers began accenting their creations with bolder and flashier accessories.

Notice Maelle David’s s subtle style transformation. She incorporated a funky, geometric theme in her elegant white gown. The ribboned fedora and loose, asymmetrical, yet sleek jacket help establish a more glamorous tone throughout the outfit.

Maelle David:

The blazer-and-pencil-skirt combination is popular in our corporate-world today.  Sibylle Denis Touat mixed the business-casual and cocktail-affair looks together in a truly unique way.  A bright, fitted blazer is layered on top of a ruffled black dress.  Touat topped the outfit off with sparkling, bold accessories.

Sibylle Denis Touat:

I really like how the hibiscus, Haiti’s national flower, is patterned throughout the overlay in Miko Guillaume’s beautiful maxi-dress.

Miko Guillaume

The Republic of Haiti is still reeling from the effects of its devastating earthquake, and many designers struggle to broaden their businesses locally.  As David Andre stated, “The clientele I have (in Haiti) is very, very small, so that’s why I have to work much harder overseas.”  The apparel industry received a good deal of international publicity with the help of renowned Haitian designers, such as Michel Chatigne, Patrick and Fabrice Tardieu (founders of Bogosse), and Hassan Pierre.  Furthermore, visitors from around the world now understand more about the Haitian culture, history, and the entire country as a whole.

Overall, Fashion Week was highly successful. The entire nation worked together to take large steps in both the global fashion world and in improving the nation’s infrastructure. The Republic of Haiti was able to increase awareness in designers in several countries.  Through Fashion Week, the designers spread a common goal: to make a charitable impact in their nation through fashion.  Although the native designers may have different ideas and styles and work independently from each other, coming together for such a wide-scale, international event gave them all a great sense of Haitian pride and national unity.  As David Andre said, “It was such a great, great experience to have Haitian designers all on the same runway.”

For more information on Haiti Fashion Week or need some advice regarding styling, please contact me at ericalin.dressesforhaiti@gmail.com.  I will be posting some of your questions in a Q & A feature soon!  (If you would like your name to be kept anonymous, or would prefer not to have your question published, that is fine. Just specify this in your email.)

Until next time,



Fashion Week in Haiti!!

Fashion Week 2012: A Short Overview

During November 8th-11th, The Republic of Haiti will host its inaugural Fashion Week!  This glamorous event will take place at the five-star Karibe Hotel in Port Au Prince.  Opportunities for tourism and learning about Haitian Outreach are available all day until 6 PM, at which time the designers will show off their stunning new collections.

Karibe Hotel:

Fashion Week will be comprised primarily of Caribbean clothing lines and aspiring native-Haitians in the apparel industry, as well as a few globally-acclaimed style icons.  Many of the designers are also strong advocates for charity and outreach in Haiti.  Haiti Fashion Week is a great opportunity for international and local designers to exhibit their upcoming collections, help expand Haiti’s young, growing apparel industry, and promote awareness about the plight of their country’s 2010 earthquake victims.

Earlier this year, Donna Karan, founder of Urban Zen, partnered with local Haitians in the industry to collaborate on apparel designs, promote their lines, and broaden her outreach network.  Among these was Michel Chataigne, an upcoming Haitian clothing designer.  Chataigne truly expresses Haitian cultural themes in his line through breezy fabrics, intricate artisan detailing, and bold color palettes.  Although Chataigne is well-known internationally through London Fashion Week, he has not heavily marketed his line to the USA.  Fashion Week will be a great chance for Americans to see his unique creations.

Michel Chataigne:

Some of Chataigne’s amazing garments:

Since 1999, Maëlle Figaro David has been both a savvy entrepreneur and apparel designer in Port Au Prince, Haiti.  Her company is prominent in both the Haitian fashion and business industries.  Maëlle styles and produces an extremely wide range of clothing, including schoolgirl uniforms, dance costumes, carnival attire, and even wedding gowns from couture.

With her unique draping techniques, geometrically shaped ruffles, and subtly detailed patterns, Maëlle Figaro David truly makes each of her creations as if it was an individual, custom-made piece of art.  The Maëlle collection is available to both local and international buyers on www.maellecreations.com.

Maëlle Figaro David:

Some of Maëlle’s beautiful designs:

Additionally, some US designers will participate in Haiti Fashion Week, including Dayanne Danier. Owner of the label “Bien Abye,” which translates to “Well Dressed” in French Creole, Danier creates sleek and modern clothing while mixing vibrant, Amazon-inspired themes in her collection. She describes her target audience as “… a woman who wants to put her best self forward. Her wardrobe is an investment, it’s constantly evolving, she likes to work and enjoy different activities…she’s chic, classic and attractive.” (New York CaribNews)

Dayanne Danier:

Some of Danier’s stunning outfits:

The complete lineup of designers at Haiti Fashion Week is available at http://www.haitifashionweek2012.com/#!designers/c1qvi/.  Many of these the apparel lines debuting at Haiti Fashion week are characterized by contemporary high-fashion juxtaposed with Haitian artistic inspiration.  If you would like to learn more about some of the designers or want ideas on fashion styling, please let us know!

Fashion Week will bring publicity to Haiti on several levels.  Not only will the designers be able to promote their fashion lines internationally, but the Republic of Haiti will have a chance to boost the apparel sector in its national economy.  Just a few years ago, Haitian clothing exports to the U.S. alone totaled around 500 million dollars, and experts predict that this statistic will grow steadily.  The fashion industry can create many new jobs and improve infrastructure overall.  Fashion Week could be the local aspiring designers’ and artists’ big chance to break out into the global apparel industry and expand their boutiques into large companies. (Huffington Post)

For more details on Haiti Fashion Week, email info@haitifashioweek2012.com or call 954-393-9077 (USA).

Do you have any favorite Haitian designers who you would like us to feature in an upcoming article? Leave a comment below, or email ericalin.dressesforhaiti@gmail.com. I would love to hear your feedback!

Until next time,


Haiti-inspired Fashion for Fall

When you travel to a new place, what do you first notice?  Does the warm, clean, island air lift your spirits?  Do you smell exotic, spicy dishes cooking at the restaurant a few blocks down?  What have you heard about this place and what do you think you’ll see?  How is it different from your hometown?  What aspect of this place intrigues you most?

Personally, I notice the clothing differences whenever I go on foreign vacations.  I am fascinated by their apparel designs and how they tie into their culture.  Today, I have compiled some ideas for Fall Fashion inspired by Haiti’s unique heritage, landscapes, and art.

  1. Big, bright florals.

    Fernand Pierre: Fleurs avec Pot Bleu

    Fernand Pierre: Fleurs avec Pot Bleu

    • Haiti’s beautiful flora and fauna remain in full bloom throughout the autumn months.  Colorful trees and plants line the beaches of Haiti.  The Hibiscus, the national flower, is especially prominent in the tropical Haitian landscape.

  • Get the look: Whether or not you live in a perpetually warm region, you can always sport beautiful, summery flower-prints.  For instance, I carry this floral-print Juicy Couture tote during all four seasons of the year.  I really like how tropical themes and images were painted into an abstract design on the fabric. The textile almost resembles one of my favorite Haitian art pieces, shown above.


2.Artistic tribal prints and embellishments

  • I am particularly fascinated by Haiti’s unique blend of African and Western culture in their food preferences, architecture, and artwork.  Many of Haiti’s artists strive to represent their lifestyles and heritage through a wide variety of mediums.  I included two of my favorite paintings below:

Toussaint Auguste’s “Birds in Nests,”                                                 Andre Normil – “Noah’s Ark”

Toussaint Auguste’s “Birds in Nests,”                                             Andre Normil – “Noah’s Ark”

  • Get the look:  I encourage you to incorporate the beautiful, one-of-a-kind Haitian artwork in your everyday clothing.  Seek nature themed and native-printed sweaters, fringed ponchos, and breezy.   Pacsun is a great mainstream destination for artisan-bohemian winter wear.  I also recommend Modcloth.com, and these looks in particular for inspiration:

3. Daring, yet feminine cocktail dresses.

  • Haitian women are true leaders in their modern society.  Over the recent years, they have really taken a stand for themselves in their country and pushed for their rights.  For instance, after the devastating earthquake struck in 2010, a group of mothers took it upon themselves to establish a new school for the children in their village.  Despite the hardships they face, these moms continue to educate many of these same kids today.
  • Get the look:  Just as the women in Haiti have empowered themselves over the years, you can express your boldness through your personal style.  For instance, you can easily dress up a simple, elegant black dress with a bold, sequined shrug.  Look for traditional designs with one or two unique things about it – for example, ruffles in contrasting colors, animal prints with floral embellishments, or glitter and gold on a ballerina-style dress.

4. Black and White Graphics.

  • American designers are becoming increasingly aware of the rough situation in Haiti.  Many are inspired to reach out to the earthquake victims and promote charity in their fashion lines.  For instance, Donna Karan has introduced a Haitian-inspired collection with neutral-colored, tribal-printed textile designs that symbolize Haitian artwork.
  • Get the look:  Seek out loose, comfortable sweaters and shirts with asymmetrical necklines.  For a more business-friendly look, spice up only one piece of your outfit. Don a printed pencil skirt or mix a funky blouse with sleek black slacks and a blazer.

5. Fashion for charity

  • Finally, you know we couldn’t talk about fashion without mentioning fashion that helps Haiti! Last week we told you about an amazing charity called Haitian Creations. Not only do they have amazing bags and jewelry you can purchase but they also promote sustainability with the community and Haitian women.
  • Get the look: Go to http://www.haitiancreations.com/ and support this amazing charity!

If you have any questions or need advice on fashion styling, feel free to email me at ericalin.dresseforhaiti@gmail.com.

Until next time,



Kafou: Haiti, Art & Vodou

We want to take the time to recognize an awesome representation of Haitian art at its best. From October 20th, 2013 until January 6th, 2013 a beautiful exhibition filled with Haitian history  and culture will be available for all to … Continue reading