My name is Nicketa Gomes. I am the daughter in the mother-daughter team of Miss Fancy Fashion House. I handle planning, marketing, distribution, and designing of clothing. My mother Patricia Gomes-Jeffrey has been sewing for more than 45 years and she brings her expertise to the business in making our own samples.
In 2012, we started with just doing custom pieces for adults, both men and women. But my mother (with the exception of her own children) had been sewing for mainly adults all her life and wanted to do something new and I, seeing how so many new and established designers were focussed on the adult clientelle, was looking for a new dynamic to work with as well.
So, in 2013 we had our first presentation of children’s clothing and by 2014 we were offering made-to-measure pieces from that collection. We recently showed a new collection in 2015 called “Twinkle Little Rock Star” which featured a lot of blue and purple bases with silver and green highlights. We had some white andblack in there too which are classic “rock star” colours.
I am also a writer so I plan to have a picture book to accompany each new collection that tells the story behind it. We are currently working on making that collection available and hope we can have some of the items ready this year. I also set up the website early in 2015 and we are always creating new items to put on it. We love to surprise people with something new and unexpected that wasn’t previewed in a show before.
We have a range of semi-formal and formal pieces but this year we are trying to have more casual/sport/recreational wear and t-shirts especially for boys as well as hand bags and jewellery. But all in time. Right now we frequent a lot of the local artisan markets, at least once a month, to interact with shoppers and build our customer base until we can get our items into stores.
Not just kids clothing
People think we are just a 12 and under business but we also do teen wear, up to 16 or 17 years old, depending on the item. Our goal is to let our clothing reflect children and teens varied personalities. There are many clothes that I remember from when I was young that I was fond of and was sad when I grew out of it. Frilly panties! I loved those! (hehe) My mother also still has a few of the first baby outfits from when her children were little.
Clothes can connect you to memory and make you feel good by just remembering the experience you had in them and we want our clothes to be a part of that experience and that memory of something that made our customers happy.
What I have noticed with society today is that people see clothes as more disposable. Maybe I am biased as a designer but clothes to me is something that always have value. So even if I see something that is expensive, if the material is good and the construction is sturdy and the style is timeless, I will invest in it because I know it can last a lifetime. Even now I have dresses that I used to wear when I was in my teens and because we’ve taken good care of them we’ve been able to transform them into skirts for my niece (she’s taller than me!) as the styles have come back around. And now she will have memories in those clothes as well and that is something we can share. But for most buyers a lot of them have been conditioned to always need something new. With that mentality you will be broke buying clothes all the time so it is understandable that cost is a driving factor for them.
So we work hard to keep our cost down and rarely create a large amount in any piece to keep it exclusive so people will feel more driven to get it because it is only one in a few of its kind. And our customers seem to appreciate that. I have heard people say, when we are at local markets, that they buy items because “you won’t ever see ‘things’ like this again”. We do have signature pieces like our “Samba Skirts”, a type of crescent skirt. People seem to love those so we always try to offer them every season in a different patterned fabric. Many adults also like our pieces for themselves. (Yes, they do!)
Our motto is “playful sophistication” so even though our items are “kid-centric” our designs have a class about them that attract adults as well and we have had a few adult purchases in our teen sizes. A sign of things to come? Maybe. We would like to do an adult line someday but we’re enjoying working with the children/teen line right now and want that running smoothly first before we move on to anything else.
Everything we do is hand-made and to an extent I would like to keep it like that. If not handmade, “made in” Trinidad and Tobago. That in itself is a way of always promoting the quality that can come out of the country and by extension the region. Even our t-shirts if they are not hand painted are printed with my own original designs.
Young designers should just go for it, whatever it is. I know we all say this, but “now” is the best time. Don’t wait for next month or next year, start today. I only got anything done when I decided to “just start”.
I got up one day and registered my business and stopped thinking about how unqualified I was and how I didn’t have any money and just started, and slowly I found a way to get to this point. Just do one thing, and follow it up with another and another. Baby steps turn into bigger ones.
I may not be where I want to be yet but I am further than I was four years ago. And I have more understanding than I did then too, for which I am thankful. Whatever you are doing, do it your way and on your terms. The last thing you want is to start hating something that you love and have a talent for because it is frustrating you.
August 2016 www.sweettntmagazine.com
You may also like: