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‘I wanted to bring New York to the Avenue’. It was a simple enough statement, but it encapsulated the vision that renowned costume and swimwear designer, Sandra Hordatt, saw come to life at the media launch of her new carnival supplies store, Designer’s World.

Recently opened at 13A Ariapita Avenue, Designer’s World is a costume designer’s dream – stark white walls stocked floor to ceiling with an array of trims, appliques, chains, fringe, feathers, gems and a multitude of other costume accoutrements. The guest list at the launch was an apt reflection of the store’s tagline ‘Where Carnival meets Fashion’ – in attendance was the veritable who’s who in the carnival and fashion industry, including Meiling, Anya Ayoung-Chee, Peter Elias, Rhion Romany, Valmiki Maharaj and Keisha Als, to name a few.

On what motivated her to open the store, Hordatt explained, ‘I would travel to New York to purchase materials. I’ll never forget the first time walking into a store like this. I got dumb-founded, just wowed. I stayed with me, and I wanted this to be in Trinidad. We have so much talent in Trinidad & Tobago, so many designers who’ve never experienced that, and my dream was to bring it to them. And it’s coming to come.’

While the opening of the store may be considered late for this Carnival season, Hordatt believes that Designer’s World will be a great resource for bands that may need extra materials and don’t have the time to send abroad for them; or for Monday Wear and accessory designers, or even masqueraders who want to add an extra something to their costumes once collected.

She assured that this was just phase one of her plans for the store, as she intends to introduce a wider variety of materials – more trims, fabrics, base bras and belts - as well as begin offering additional services to both established and budding designers. Designers can come to Hordatt with their own trim design, and she can have it produced for them. ‘Sky’s the limit’ as she puts it, when it comes to the possibilities for designers in this space. ‘I wanted to set up a little station where designers could come and put things together. Have a glue gun, pencil, paper and come up with things in the store. When you have to go to New York your space is limited - you’re walking with a big bag, with your samples and your drawings, you kind of need a little area to yourself where you can process.’

Hordatt’s name is one that comes up often in discussion with younger designers – often referenced as a mentor, giving much needed guidance and assistance to new talent. While to some it’s surprising that, in an industry as competitive as the carnival industry is, Hordatt feels comfortable helping so many people along the way, she shrugs it off with a smile ‘That’s just me. If you come in here and you need advice, I will help as much as I can. I try to be in the store as much as possible. And if I’m not here, I have really great staff that is very knowledgeable and experienced.’

With several major fashion events on the horizon, and costume designers back to the drawing boards as early as April, Designer’s World is likely to be buzzing with activity for some time to come. Persons interested in visiting the store can do so from 10am to 5pm on Monday to Friday, and 10am to 3pm on Saturdays.

by Ceola Belix / Metro Magazine

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