Msquared: The Marriage of Hi & Lo fashion in T&T

It's a common practice on the international fashion circuit: renowned designers and fashion houses routinely team up with general fare merchandising chain stores and clothing outlets to create low-end versions of their luxe designs. Oscar de La Renta did it with his 'O' by Oscar line for Macy's; Issac Mizrahi's doing it for Target, along with Proenza Schouler, Eric Featherson, and others; Roberto Cavalli did it for the European chain, H&M; and now Trinidad's beloved minimalist, Meiling, is doing it with the everyday basic wear store of the island, Micles.

The fashion veteran Meiling Esau, who was recently honoured at the Caribbean Fashion Week in Jamaica, is doing something that she normally doesn't: embracing a trend. The merger between the two entities is supposed to bring the classy ease of the Meiling label to the main streets of Trinidad, making the designs more available and affordable to the masses. It's also a major fashion credibility boost for the clothing variety store, Micles, which is currently the place one would go to buy the basics - white tee, strappy vest, etc - and the extras like stockings, graduation dresses, cocktail outfits, jewelery and what not.

With a Micles/Meiling/Msquared retail store of sorts set to open its doors in the newly renovated shopping emporium, The Falls at West Mall, Trinidad, and with a major fashion show carded on Tuesday 24th at the Zen nightclub, this could simply be a promotional ploy for Micles; to have a big bang for their new store. Or it could be just a way for Meiling to ensure that she doesn't alienate the regular buying public with her cool handed designs. Whichever the slant, I don't think this will cheapen the Meiling name - remember, she's done mass lines before with the youth oriented Zed Meiling store in POS. I'm glad this is happening, because it shows that our noted and loved designers and merchants are thinking about more than the bottom line by thinking about their customers.

LMN Harris

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