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Caribbean Menswear Designer, Ecliff Elie Pushes Past Covid-19 with Big Lessons Learnt.

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When the Covid-19 pandemic reared its head in the aftermath of Trinidad and Tobago’s carnival this past March, Caribbean menswear designer Ecliff Elie had only five months prior, opened his new design house at C3 Centre in San Fernando, South Trinidad. His atelier location in Woodbrook, Port-of-Spain maintained its market position, posturing the designer’s imminent rise to regionwide gratification, by all markers. He never expected what eventually came; a pandemic that would bring great uncertainty, but with it, even greater lessons. 

The Caribbean menswear aesthetic continues to blossom into something of its own niche character, Elie believes, and because of this, he has had unwavering hope for the industry despite the pandemic. “There have been wonderful lessons learnt by the Ecliff Elie team in the past nine months,” he says, explaining that business equates to risk and one must be strong, enduring and fearless to combat the effects of such risk. “This period, while extremely daunting for many, opened my eyes as a business owner to many things, and I’ve weathered the storm very well. I have been able to keep all of my employees over the past nine months and that came with the implementation of more effective business strategies,” he explained. 

Ecliff Elie says he has learnt some very helpful lessons during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Restrictions imposed as a direct result of Covid-19, in Trinidad and Tobago and across the Caribbean has certainly affected sales to some degree, however Elie says he remains steadfast and resolute in his belief that this storm of sorts, will soon pass. “Weathering the storm requires a lot of patience but it also demands resilience. What we’ve done during this period proved effective for the long-term business strategy. Virtual consultations, available at www.ecliffelie.co may have been overlooked prior to the pandemic, and it’s actually an effective method of reaching clients around the world,” said Elie. In fact, he explains, he’s seen increased regional sales during Covid-19. 

The male client, Elie’s target demographic, continues to be acutely marketed to, particularly during the present Christmas season. “While we understand that for many, these are some tough financial times, we also feel that men require emotional support during this time,” said Elie. “Because men are often required to be strong in the face of hardship, the man’s emotional pain can be overlooked. In the same way a woman feels good when she purchases a new pair of shoes or a new dress, we believe men should feel comfortable releasing their stress with a little shopping from time to time,” said the designer. 

Ecliff Elie’s Southern branch offers off-the-rack suits that can be altered for fit on spot. “While dinner parties and New Year’s Eve events may be very limited this year, we’d like to encourage our Caribbean men to boost their spirit and feel good despite the effects of this pandemic. It’s been a tough year, but we must have the right attitude heading into 2021, which will ultimately determine our altitude. For some reason, stepping into Ecliff Elie has a way of changing attitudes,” he said. 

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Caribbean Buzz

Jamaica’s Lila Ike Calls for More Caribbean Unity.

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Grenadian artiste, Jeverson.

Caribbean artistes, Sabrina Francis, Lila Iké, Patrice Roberts and Mr. Killa recently performed at the Grenada Caribbean Music Festival. The event was hosted at Port Louis Lawn, St. George’s on June 22nd. Grenadian artiste, Jeverson, was also a part of the experience. He said, “Our festival has thrived thanks to the incredible support from our community. It was key to spotlight Grenada – ensuring that the Vibes Stage entertainment exclusively featured Grenadian acts.”

Jeverson – a singer, songwriter and businessman, was the first as the first Grenadian to make an appearance on the popular television series ‘American Idol.’ “We’re really proud that our event started on-time – our production team did an amazing job ensuring that everything ran smoothly for our patrons to deliver world-class entertainment,” he said of the event’s production.

Afro Caribbean Pop, Reggae and Soca Hit Grenada

Sabrina Francis

On Saturday, Grenadian songbird, Sabrina Francis set the tone for the evening’s festivities. Her signature blend of Afro Caribbean Pop and RnB, was thoroughly enjoyed by the audience. Together with The Treehouse Band, she delivered songs like, “Cocoa Tea” and “Mama Say,’ among others. Jamaican reggae artiste, Lila Ike, who is herself, fast becoming an international sensation, also graced the event’s stage. She performed an hour- long set, which featured songs like “I Spy”, “Where I’m Coming From” and her latest, “He Loves Us Both” – a track done collaboratively with, H.E.R. Ike called for more unity among Caribbean people during her performance. She praised her Grenadian counterparts for welcoming her with open arms to their island.

The event would later be energized with Soca artistes, Patrice Roberts and Mr. Killa, delivering their high impact performances. Backed by the A-Team Band, Roberts gave those present her all, singing, ‘Anxiety,’ Old and Grey,’ and ‘ Mind My Business,’ among her countless other hits. Son of the soil, Mr. Killa, known for his memorable stage shows, did not fail to bring further excitement to the show, in the end closing the festival with just a sample of what’s to come for Spicemas 2024.

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Caribbean Buzz

Soca & Dancehall Week Wrapped. Hoppy – “It Was The Right Time to Pay Tribute.”

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Trinidad and Tobago has experienced the effects of Scorch Radio’s concept of a Soca and Dancehall week and by the looks of it, it may be the start of an annual staging. The series of events, which included several panel discussions, ended with a massive concert at the Queen’s Park Savannah on Saturday night.

Shenseea, Popcaan and several local entertainers, including Isasha and Sackie, thrilled the crowd of young partygoers on the final night, but even before that, the energy of the concept had been felt across the island. In the lead up to the weekend, Caribbean Musicon was held and focused on sharing ideas and discussing areas of concern in the promotion of Caribbean music, to global audiences. Free to enter and experience, the four day symposium featured several panel discussions and even offered students an opportunity to learn some of the career paths that are available to them in the business of entertainment.

Among those who spoke at the live panel discussions throughout the series, were globally known songwriter and singer, Angela Hunte, Soca artiste, Farmer Nappy, event promoter, Jules Sobion, National Carnival Commission CEO, Keiba Jacob Motley, cultural entrepreneur and producer, Lorraine O’Connor, UberSocaCruise publicist Jodi Covington, music producer Kasey Phillips and former Major Lazer member, DJ and Producer Jillionaire. Several members of the TriniBad genre’s advocates, inclusive of artistes and producers, along with Dime Media’s, Delicia Patterson, were also included in the mix.

Singer, Songwriter Angela Hunte

Supported by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and the Arts as well as the Ministry of Sport and youth Development of Trinidad and Tobago, the cumulative event was deemed necessary by Scorch Radio boss, Kwesi Hopkinson. “We felt it was the right time to not only pay tribute to these artforms, which have shaped and colored our lives, but to also have those essential discussions about the industry and the way forward, and our respective roles and responsibilities in advancing and evolving our industry toward achieving more and more success,” he said.

On June 19th, Stink and Dutty was held at the Savannah, in the lead up to Stage Show on Saturday night. The well known event, which is a carnival staple, saw fete lovers emerge in all their glory. “This is the greatest party in the world,” said Aaron ‘Voice’ St. Louis, at the event last Wednesday. “I doh care what nobody say, this should be a staple for tourists when they visit the island. They should get a Bake and Shark, doubles, or whichever Trini food they prefer. They should visit Maracas Beach, Caroni Bird Sanctuary, but after all that… and before they leave… all fun-loving tourists should definitely attend Stink N Dutty,” he said. The Stink N Dutty event featured artistes like Angela Hunte, Mical Teja, Voice, Skinny Fabulous, Jamaica’s Jada Kingdom and Rajah Wild and T&T’s Yung Bredda Entertainment.

On Saturday night, even amid a 6.2 magnitude earthquake that shook the ground, patrons at the Stage Show took in the stageside excitement of Shenseea. She preceded Popcaan who generated tremendous fan love. The enthusiasm for dancehall music, as a Caribbean genre, was evident, particularly among the youth. On stage, Popcaan revealed that he is presently working on a new album and would be recording while in T&T.

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FROM THE CARIBBEAN

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