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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Making Mas !

A popular store in New York offering costume supplies and decorated bras

If you are someone  involved in creating costumes in any form or fashion then you are sure to know of the two major producers located in New York. So many customers traverse these stores looking for material, costume supplies and even a China based manufacturer to mass produce costumes for Carnivals taking place globally, it was only a matter of time before information being so readily shared made it way back to The Sauce as paths cross.

So, let me bring you up to speed!

Of these two major producers one was responsible for the "costume quality" issues experienced by a certain band in Trinidad this year. Observant masqueraders would have noticed, and heard the rumours, that the prototype and the final product were not exactly the same. It was intimated to me that the producer blamed the band for wanting too much on a very small budget and in all honesty the band leader did approve the costumes before the designers made an uproar and subsequent trips to China had to be made to sort out the situation. When you have costumes in a totally different colour from what was advertised you have a problem!  To his credit I was told this producer usually has the nicer materials and you can always find several band leaders and designers getting materials at his shop, even when they take their business elsewhere.

Fast forward to present day 2010 and several bands, including new ones, have been approaching the other producer to get their costumes made. I was even told a band leader's mother allegedly tried to woo this producer  by stating SHE was a costume designer with years of experience! Word is that this other producer is swamped doing costumes for TRIBE, Harts, Island People and Ronnie & Caro and has had to turn down production requests from the band that had "costume quality" issues this year as well as several new bands.

And if you ever wondered how much production costs on these costumes that are made in China (bras and belts only, headpieces are made in Trinidad) the estimated price I was given is between $65.00 to $85.00US a set on bulk orders. 

Here is a mention of a producer speaking to someone at Antilla Carnival event in 2008:
Hai Lin owns Hai Trimming Inc, a company in New York City that produces the mas for Trinidad Carnival. He explained to me he doesn't design any of the mas he receives the designs from the mas camp and he simply manufactures the designs out of his shops in China. He states he is s always impressed with the designs from the mas camps Spice and Element mas camps gave him the most business for the 2009 carnival season. SOURCE
And a look at Hai's bra factory in China, now you know why some costume bra sizes are limited and special orders cannot be accommodated. Very interesting stuff!

I am very curious to see how the bands who were unable to secure the other producer fare when they have to return to the producer with the "costume quality" issues. Lets hope they have a bigger budget and a more on hands on approach to ensuring that standards are met. What use is having a stunning prototype when the end result is far from what was advertised?

Gems Trinidad Carnival 2011

Finally, some Gems information to share:

GEMS, a new addition to the medium bands operates under the leadership of a five member board, with directives from the Band Manager, Mr. Tyrell Sween. Holistically supported by a particular establishment, which prefers to remain anonymous, the Band Manager has been delegated the full responsibility of the general operations of the band. The band holds no affiliations to any other as it is an entirely new band.

Band Leader – Mr. Garry Hazel
Band Manger – Mr. Tyrell Sween
Public Relations Officer – Mr. Anton Brewster

GEMS is an all-inclusive band, with the goal of providing total comfort to all its masqueraders. Working along with three designers, the band is offering ten sections, each of which aims to facilitate a maximum of One Hundred Fifty masqueraders. Costumes prices would range from $2500.00 to $3500.00 with the aim of providing for the individual need of the masquerader. These costumes are inclusive of backline, frontline and individuals. The band is also looking forward to putting forth a King and Queen of Carnival.

Mr. Sean Miller
Mr. Keon Chow Cop
Mr. Darrel Bulze

We intend to provide quality service to our masqueraders of 2011, by providing the necessary comforts available, for the carnival season, while within the band. Some of which consist of:

Identification Wrist Bands
Band Security
Mobile Restrooms
Roaming Photographers
On-Site Paramedics
Meals and Snacks
Shuttle Service
Premium Bars
Food Stop

2011 Theme

“Conquest of Alexander”

In 331 BC, Alexander the Great of Macedon began one of the greatest conquests in human history. After conquering Egypt and defeating the Persian Empire Alexander had pushed his army to the very limits of the world as the Greeks knew it. But he wanted more; he saw that the world extended further. By conquering the ancient lands of the Mesopotamians, he came into contact with cultures to the east, such as Pakistan and India. Partly out of curiosity, and partly out of a desire to conquer the entire world within the boundaries of the river Ocean (the Greeks believed that a great river, called Ocean, encircled all the land of the world), Alexander and his army pushed east, through northern Iran and all the way to Pakistan and India. He had conquered Bactria at the foot of the western Himalayas, gained a huge Bactrian army. But when he tried to push on past Pakistan, his army grew tired, and he abandoned the eastward conquest in 327 BC. Alexander only made it as far as the region of Gandhara, the plain which lies directly west of the Indus River. Alexander himself seems to have had literally no effect on Indian history, for he left as soon as he reached the Indus.

Media Launch Section Names:
Tyre – Tyrian Treasure (Red)
Grancius River (Blue)
Persia - The Battle of Gaugamela (Black)
Merciless Macedoni (Orange)

Band Office

Address: 39 Saddle Rd, San Juan.

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