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Kaj makes a global push
Known for flying under the local fashion radar, the small Tobago label Kaj Designs recently showcased its Kaj Resort 2013/14 collection Tribu Sauvage, hitting the Intermezzo Collections and Blueprint fashion trade shows, held in New York and Singapore, respectively. Kaj Designs, created by Kevin Ayoung Julien, is the first Caribbean fashion label to show at BLUEPRINT, during Singapore’s Fashion Week, Asia Fashion Exchange (AFX). The Intermezzo Collections trade show is one of the most highly anticipated fashion trade events in the world and is produced by ENK International. As a result of its participation, Kaj Designs’ Tribu Sauvage resort line will be available through Lion’esque Style, a Manhattan showroom and online retailer, from July.
Following its international debut, Kaj attracted a flurry of attention at the Trade and Investment Convention (TIC) 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad from June 12-15. Along with other local fashion designers like Claudia Pegus, Christian Boucaud, Ecliff Elie and Delia Alleyne, the label was a featured exhibitor—as part of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment (MTII) Boulevard—and reported on-the-spot sales and orders from convention attendees. Not bad for the relatively young label whose focus seems to be on establishing a brand that will extend well beyond these shores.
Kaj Designs certainly has all the right elements for global appeal: the pieces are pretty, wearable and easy to understand, with prices starting at $700 and capping off at just under $10,000. The resort collection itself, with its uncompromisingly simple tailoring, largely comprises cotton maxi dresses and gauzy kaftans cut similarly to pieces from Kaj’s 2010/2011 collection. With a smattering of detail here and there, the brilliance of Tribu Sauvage relies heavily on the careful mishmash of animal print and the movement of its semi-transparent, printed chiffon pieces. Although a fairly tepid collection, among the standout pieces from the label’s latest offering is a maxi dress, featuring a cheeky front slit and racerback detail made from enlarged snakeskin printed fabric.
Mel Gabriel is the editor-in-chief of the fashion Web site Trinidad Lookbook.
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