Building a Caribbean Fashion Brand

From Tortola to the world

By Dana Niland

CJ Contributor

Kristin Frazer is the founder and lead designer of Trèfle Inc., located in the British Virgin Islands. She launched the company, which specializes in swimwear and resort wear for women and girls, in 2008 and has quickly gained notice in the fashion industry from Guyana to New York. Trèfle designs have been featured in magazines such as Marie Claire, Ebony, and Essence, and have earned Kristin the 2014 Caribbean Excellence in Fashion Award in Washington D.C., as well as the 2014 Pioneer of the Year Award from the British Virgin Islands Chamber of Commerce. Caribbean Journal had the opportunity to ask a few questions of the rising fashion figure, who hails from Tortola.  (Above: a recent Trefle design)

What inspired you to start Trèfle?

I have always taken a keen interest in sewing. It’s my passion and it’s in my blood; plus with over 10 years experience of sewing, while taking a draping course in college, it took me over 5 weeks to learn to sew a simple triangle bikini. I love a challenge and that, along with the love of my country and the beach inspired me to start designing swimwear and resortwear. My grandmother also played an intricate role in my passion for sewing and I decided to name my company after her (Ruth Clover Anthony). Trefle means clover in French.  

How are your designs influenced by life in the Caribbean?

While my passion for traveling and taking in the sights and experiences of other cultures, the Caribbean always hits home naturally through the various cultures, spirit of the people, colors of the land and sea. Every collection birthed from my company will have at least one element of Caribbean in my mood boards that I create when designing a new piece. 

What do you consider your biggest achievement to date in your designing career?

Since I founded the company in August 2008, my bucket list of goals for my business was a note of success when celebrity singer Beyoncé and her daughter Blue Ivy wore my designs. This took my company and country to a new appreciation of attraction, networking and the growth enabled me to become “rooted” in carrying Trèfle to the next level.  

How are you building your brand as a Caribbean destination?

In previous jobs, I worked as an Information Officer at the cornerstone of the BVI, the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board and my job was to embrace, inform and create a warm and happy atmosphere for tourists and locals alike. This played a very important role in the formation of my company because Trefle is not only a brand, but I parallel my company and all its goals on the backbone of the BVI as one of the ultimate Caribbean getaway destinations. Purchasing a swimsuit, resort or accessory piece that is of the BVI is a win/win for everyone. My new collection for Summer 2016 is the start of a true taste of Trèfle as I will be showcasing my first original artwork/print done by a local artist/designer that will be used throughout the company in swim, resort, kids and home accessories. The brand is truly building and I intend to bring the BVI along with it. When we work together as a country, the country and all those in it grows.

Where do you hope to take Trèfle from here?

Trèfle Inc. is now operating as an international company and I am networking daily with potential product placement in the Caribbean region, London and Europe. The feeling of being exclusive through the eyes of my customers is always great, but exclusivity can still stand with the right team, a positive attitude and great collections for every season. Our collections are becoming more versatile with our recent launch of plus size swimwear for women and we will soon introduce our men’s collection with a preview of swim trunks for boys as well. We are building our unique library of prints and are excited to implement these prints to all our areas of focus. My mantra: “Have a ‘taste’ of my country, my home, my fashion, my Caribbean.”

 

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