Delia Alleyne : Where The Caribbean Meets Punk Couture
It’s not often that one is evident from a tender age as to what their passion is , let alone brave enough to pursue it with immeasurable strength and vivace. However , in the case of Trinbagonian designer Delia Alleyne , we meet a young woman who has been brave enough to do just that.
“I knew that this is what I wanted to do…”
Born on the beautiful island of Tobago , Delia Alleyne attended the Signal Hill Senior Comprehensive Secondary School and headed straight for the John Donaldson Technical Institute right after. There she completed her Diploma in Clothing & Textile Technology . “I knew that this is what I wanted to do from a really young age,” she said as she explained her reason for going directly into fashion straight out of high school. After graduating with her diploma , Delia began teaching clothing and textiles to the students at Goodwood High School in Tobago. With all that she had achieved so far , Delia knew in her heart that she could not settle and that she wanted more. She then left her post as a teacher to further her fashion studies at The Caribbean Academy of Fashion and Design at The University of Trinidad and Tobago pursuing a degree in Fashion Design. It was there that Delia’s talent began capturing the eyes of some of the industry’s top professionals as her unique abilities in design, construction and juxtaposing of textures was paid close attention too. Soon she became the whisper around town and little did she know the impact she would soon have in the fashion industry of Trinidad and Tobago.
After graduating with her degree in Fashion Design , Delia had the wonderful opportunity of showcasing her thesis collection at the Ottawa Fashion Weekend in Canada , which turned out be quite a humbling experience for her. It wasn’t long after this that Delia would really begin executing her talents in design as she then later launched her very first line of haute couture designs entitled “The Steam Punk Collection”. The Steam Punk Collection premiered at Tobago Fashion Weekend and became an immediate hit with the audience. It was unlike anything they had seen Caribbean wise and had a very high international appeal as it showed lots of designs influenced by the steam punk and goth culture. Though the predominant tone and mood of the collection was dark and airy , the splashes of bright pink and green palettes helped bring it back home to the Caribbean. Due to the collection’s success Delia then went on to showcase her designs at Caribbean Fashion Week in Jamaica and Carifesta 11 in Suriname. She recently launched her 2nd collection entitled “60’s College Affair” that debuted and has only been shown at the University of the West Indies via it’s annual fashion event called UWI Style which the University population instantly fell in love with.
“I draw inspiration from everything…”
Apart from being the creative director Delia has embarked on a life as an entrepreneur and has worked with some of the biggest names in the creative industry of Trinidad and Tobago. One of her most known work being with her good friend and colleague Anya Ayoung-Chee who is the season 9 winner of the international runway reality television series Project Runway. Delia became Anya’s sewing tutor for the hit reality series and was very pleased that her efforts with Anya became a worldwide success. Delia also worked on major projects with the iconic Trinbagonian designer Meiling and assisted one of the country’s greatest Carnival artist Peter Minshall in his work for Drew Manor. She didn’t stop there as even today Delia continues to be a major contributor to The Tobago Heritage Event as she had the honour of designing the costumes for the entire cast on opening night. Her work for the heritage event expands even further as she is known to have been sewing for the Tobago Heritage Queen Show Pageant since 2001.
Delia’s life has been in full adoration by her peers. She has taken a much different approach to fashion than what is typically known and seen in the Caribbean and stays true to her aesthetics which are crowned mostly by punk , edgy, well tailored and timeless looks. She is daring and is not afraid of taking risks which is evident in all her designs. Her uniqueness has made her work a signature that stands out from the crowd . When asked about her favourite designers she rattled them out with no hesitancy crowning Meiling as her local favourite and Alexander McQueen , Jean Paul Gaultier and Balenciaga as her international picks. “I draw inspiration from everything,” she responded when I pried into what her creative influences are for her designs. Her main goal is to continue to strive for international excellence within her work and it is a goal she is adamant on fulfilling.
When I asked “what’s next” for her dynamic career she shyly replied “A Little Shinding ” which is ironically an event she is hosting this weekend at Stye Director Risanne Martin’s BCO Style Studio on # 13 Ana St, Woodbrook, Port of Spain, Trinidad. The event promises to give current and potential clients a taste of never before seen pieces from the designer , with a bit of some wine to go around so that everyone loosens up. The designer was very anxious when expressing her elation with the launching of the event as she seeks to expand on the marketability of her recent work. “I’m excited,” she assured though you could tell preparations for the event have been hectic. Delia is a true driving force that continues to catapult to new levels at the most unexpected times , making her spontaneity and work a thrill for all. I cannot wait to see what her future has in store as I suspect it will only be greater things.
We were happy to produce a photoshoot of Delia’s two collections , take a look :
The “Steam Punk” Collection
60’s College Affair