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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Confirmation ............

Sonia Mack has joined forces with Island People Mas as reported from the Trinidad Guardian.

Come Sunday, Island People Mas (IPM) returns to the mas arena with its Carnival 2007 presentation of “Sahara—Out of the vast emptiness, comes...”

The group’s C2K6 presentation of The Enchanted Forest earned IPM a reputation for having good vibes, high energy, and most of all, uniquely creative costume designs.

This year, there is an added element to the brilliant designers of IPM; a designer who has a strong reputation for creative excellence and elegant beauty within Trinidad’s Carnival. She is the mas veteran Sonia Mack.

One of the most widely anticipated and well-known designers in mas, and designer/presenter of some of Poison’s most vibrant all-inclusive sections, Mack has united with the design team of IPM.

Principals of IPM assured this week that this new marriage is committed to continue to create contemporary Carnival costumes that are sexy, original and fun.

Over the years, Mack’s costume “couture” has brought great delight and admiration to T&T’s Carnival country.

Assisted by her daughter, Natania, her design innovations have always set trends, consequentially becoming standard features of carnivals both regionally and internationally.

“We both share the common goal of excellence, perfection, and originality in Carnival” Mack said this week about the liaison.

“It’s absolutely fantastic to see a young band like IPM continue to achieve such similar aspirations and goals and I am excited to be a part of such a creative organisation.”

IPM’s Sahara—Out of the vast emptiness, comes...takes place at 6 pm, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port-of-Spain, and goes until midnight.

Non-members would be required to pay $175 and there are limited advance tickets available.

The Costume Conundrum

Take a look at these two costumes: the first photo is a past section from a popular Carnival band known for their well made, beautiful costumes. The second photo I got straight off the pages of a website that specializes in making beaded costumes called Neckelmanns, it's called the "Carnival Set". Click on the photos to see them larger and compare the two.....they are identical.

As I mentioned before I did a project to produce a section in a Carnival Band for my Project Management class ( see how much I love Carnival!) and while doing research I emailed Neckelmanns for information on their costumes and the possibility of using either one of their costumes or having them manufacture my own design Their response was very enlightening informing me that they have lots of experience in this area having designed and manufactured Carnival costumes for Trinidad Carnival.

Now, I am sure everyone has heard at some time or the other that some Carnival bands in Trinidad import costumes from China or Brazil, that was even the excuse used this year when some costumes of a popular band allegedly did not arrive in the country on time leaving many a disgruntled masquerader waiting and leading to a write up in the local Newspapers. The photos above are quite telling if you did not believe the rumors of imported costumes before.

The thing is, those imported costumes look fantastic, they are very detailed, decorated to within a sliver of fabric and set a standard so that when we see a costume that is locally made people call them "cheap". However, I think it is unfair to compare a ready made costume to one that is designed and produced locally since it's like comparing apples to oranges. I do think that it will encourage local designers to not only meet that standard set by costumes from Neckelamanns and other places that manufacture costumes en masse, but also to surpass them in creativity.

I don't know about other people, but I personally have a problem with imported costumes. Before I knew about Necklemanns I was ignorant, now that I know I can tell fairly easily which costumes are imported and which are locally made. Friends of mine have the opinion that the imported costumes not only look better but are made better as well and don't see a problem if bands import costumes since they are getting a "better product".

Trinidad has so much talent, just look at the creations of Brian Mc Farlene and Peter Minshall, it is somewhat sad to think that even though the costumes are just "beads and bikinis" that some people think we cannot produce locally made costumes of a not only a superior design, but of a superior quality. I have costumes packed away in boxes made from "local designers" that are still fully intact so I know we can produce well made costumes right here in Trinidad.

I don't know the reasons why bands choose to import costumes, I am guessing it's cheaper and faster than having them made in Trinidad. But that also brings with it a set of problems such as size restrictions ,being unable to take any special requests or make changes in regards to the costume and you also run the risk of not having the costume getting into the country on time. Apart from all that, I just think we should support local designers and mas producers because they are the ones who have to carry on the Carnival legacy. The steelpan is already being manufactured in factories across Asia, will we loose our Carnival creativity to that too?

Looking at these drop dead gorgeous costumes, that send people into a frenzy, the last thing on anyone's mind is wheter the costume is made locally or imported. I don't expect that those imported costumes will get any less support even if people knew they were coming straight out of a factory in China, well apart from me since I don't blink twice at anything that looks like Neckelmanns costumes. I just want you to take a closer look everytime you see a costume and know what you are getting. Don't be so quick to rip apart costumes that are designed and made locally, even if they don't measure up to the lavishly decorated imported costumes. Be proud that they are made right here in sweet Trinidad and Tobago because they represent all the talent that we have and what sets our Carnival apart from any other Carnival in the world.
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