The Cloth: Meet the Designer Pop-Up Shop
Zawadi African Art Gallery hosts a Pop-up Shop to showcase two sustainable fashion collections designed by The Cloth, a Fashion House from Trinidad & Tobago. Come and meet the designer Robert Young.
The collections Clean Slate and This Project Blue are both fresh off the Caribbean Fashion Week Runway in Jamaica, which runs from June 13th-17th. Clean Slate is a 100% linen collection, and This Project Blue is a 100% handwoven, natural-dyed, hand-block printed cotton collection: two expressions of biodegradable, sustainable fashion. The event will showcase Contemporary Caribbean and Africanist aesthetics in fashion, art, and design. Meaning “gift” in Swahili, Zawadi was founded by Irene Whalen in Washington DC in 1992, after a decade in Africa, focusing on women's economic and social empowerment at the World Bank, UNICEF and USAID. Robert Young, son of trade unionist, describes himself as “an artist working with clothing, not a fashion designer.” The Cloth has developed a distinctive textile, called appliqué, used on the exterior of many of its products, which is now one of the most recognizable elements of the brand. The Cloth's signature appliqués have evoked “Basquiat mixed with Picasso.” With their distinct expression of Caribbean storytelling and aesthetics, Young’s designs and runway shows have been a staple of fashion in the Caribbean since 1986, and have been dubbed “iconoclastic, revolutionary, theatric[al].” Young’s designs also serve to shine a light on contemporary social and political issues and questions of cultural identity. In 2015, Young received both the Male Caribbean Fashion Designer Award from Caribbean Fashion Week in Jamaica and the Spirit of Emancipation Award, given to “African persons from the Trinidad/Tobago diaspora who manifest excellence in their field of work and on behalf of the global African nation.” The Cloth’s appeal is international and its designs have been worn by leading international artists such as Grammy award-winning Robe