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Creole Couture – The 2020 Way

Creole Day 2020 has come and gone, and with it came a flurry of fashion trends which were increasingly modern and daring. Of course, this day is highly anticipated by Dominicans for the chance to display their creative versions of the national wear, and well, let’s be honest, the crab backs and other delicacies are highly anticipated as well! 

Back in the day, Creole day outfits for women would invariably consist of something madras or boldly floral. The traditional Wob Dwiyet or the simpler variant, the Jupe were often worn. Men’s outfits were pretty standard and in line with the traditional wear; white long sleeve shirts, black pants, and red sashes or madras waistcoats or ties. Slowly, this has been revolutionized and Creole Day wear is basically whatever your creativity inspires you to try, for both men and women. Indeed, who will forget 2020 for the breakthrough of a men’s Creole wear design which quickly became viral; a lace shirt with madras edging! I must acknowledge Don’s and Divas though for their contemporary Creole fashion line which incorporated trendy designs for both sexes.

For women, bold prints and colours were the overwhelming choices for the day.  Madras was featured widely, yes, but also colourful stripes, African themed prints, and even solids accentuated with lace. A major trend hitting the Creole fashion arena is mixed prints…pairing up madras with stripes or black and white plaid. The pioneer of this trend is Mikkie Graham, fashion designer extraordinaire of BellaNoir Fashion. A conventional fashionista would maybe say of the trend, “That doesn’t even match!” or,  “That outfit is clashing”…but the trend is becoming increasingly popular and more and more people are getting on board. 

Fabric is one consideration, but what about designs? I must say the ladies are outdoing themselves and those seamstresses are being put to the ultimate test. Let’s not forget the seamstresses, the most highly sought after professional at this time. Many women will retell stories of disappointing outcomes from seamstresses or not getting their outfits done on time at all…but although we may all have a horror story or two in our past, we can’t deny that many seamstresses rose above the occasion this year. 

Another top runner in Creole designs for ladies is the madras slim-fit pants with a high-low cut top to accompany it. This design is all about the cut and if your seamstress or tailor can execute the fitted pant look well, then it was all over when you hit that Creole Day runway…aka the streets of Roseau. 

Chrisline Tavernier in Madras Pants

A major fashion transition was using non-traditional colours in the Creole ‘fit. Typically madras would be paired with white, or sometimes black if going for a sleek look. This year white was actually not as commonly used. Petticoats in all shades of the rainbow fell under those madras skirts and dresses in uncommon hues of blue, peach and even maroon were seen. Truly, this Creole season it was all about being different and making bold statements. 

I can’t leave out the accessorizing greatness we saw on Creole Day though. The COVID-19 pandemic created the need for an added accessory, the madras mask. And headpieces? Wheew child! Ladies brought it all out. Kulcha Kreationz, new on the scene in Creole design, was a go-to choice for both traditional and modern headpieces. I almost feel like, by 2021, headpieces will be a must-have on Creole Day, even for younger people who tended to avoid the look in the past. 

Some may say we’re veering too far away from the traditional wear. Some may say we’re spending too much money on trying to outdo previous years’ outfits. And still, others may ask, “Why make a big deal about Creole Day… Particularly when all activities were essentially canceled due to COVID-19?” The way I see it is when it comes to fashion, do whatever you need to do to make yourself happy, and optimize your self-expression. I mean when I look back at the Creole couture which made its way to the streets on Creole Day 2020 it really was the Dominican confidence and swag for me. 

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