Nothing says “Jounen Kwéyòl is here” like a good madras outfit (and a great bowl of Crab Callaloo!) It’s that time again and many Saint Lucians, already, are donning their best madras looks. From straw hats, scarves, corsages, handbags, (and even decked out vehicles!) Saint Lucians are going all out for Creole Day.
Meet Cheris Fitz, a budding designer, who’s helping Saint Lucians look their best for the season (and beyond.)
At 21, with no formal training whatsoever, Cheris is immensely talented, and hopes her brand ‘Fashion by Fitzie’ will be one that individuals in Saint Lucia, and later, around the globe, will embrace.
“I got my first sewing machine at 17 so that’s basically when I started sewing,” Cheris said in an interview with YO! on Monday.
“A year after that I started making pieces to sell at Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC) and as the years went by I started getting better and better.I also learnt through YouTube,” Cheris, a former student of SALCC added.
She credits her grandmother for her talent, saying, “It was a gift that was passed down from my grandmother. All my aunties sew as well so I guess it was passed onto me. When I was younger, I made clothes for my dolls and when I was in form 5 at Castries Comprehensive Secondary School, I sewed my Jounen Kwéyòldress by hand.”
The young designer loves expressing herself through fashion and says that she wants individuals to be able to identify her work easily:“I want people to say that’s Fashion by Fitzie,” she said.
The La Feuille resident says being an entrepreneur is rewarding and also causes her to work harder.
“Without getting up on a morning and pushing hard, you can’t achieve; you don’t know where your money is coming from and you’re not guaranteed to get a pay cheque at the end of the month so it gives you the drive to do more,” Cheris, who works from home, said.
Cheris is busy this time of year as many individuals (naturally) want special pieces for Creole Day.
According to her, “We’re focusing on trendy, youthful outfits. We want to incorporate styles that could suit teenagers and older persons aswell as there are mature individuals with a youthful taste.”
Persons can place their orders for other occasions too, as Fashion by Fitzie has a lot to offer. (Some of the designer’s pieces were even featured at Brooklyn Fashion Week in 2016.) Her prices are also reasonable.
Although she places more focus on fashion for younger women, the designer says she will eventually branch out to men’s fashion.
Cheris hopes to introduce her madras creations to other markets as well.
Says Cheris, “Many foreigners like our national prints;I want to get my pieces into stores like H&M and Forever 21.”
Also a make-up artist, the young adult intends to get formal training in the future, to enhance her skills.
To designers like herself, she says, “Be yourself because it gets you places. Don’t try to duplicate people’s designs—stick to your brand and don’t let anyone bring you down. Also remember you could never go wrong when it comes to fashion; any mistake could be a different design.”
She added: “Don’t rush either.Ifyou think you’re not ready, take your time and when you figure out when you really want to do it,then take the leap of faith.”
Although being self-employed is freeing, she admits the most daunting thing about being an entrepreneur is not knowing whether persons will support her.
“Sometimesyou feel like givingup but then it all falls back to the drive because if you give up, that’s on you,” she said.
Why should someone buy an item from Fashion by Fitzie? (I think it’s evident but she’ll give you one more reason.)
“I put great effort in my work. I make sure everything is intact, is of good quality and is well-presented,” she said.
Go girl! Here’s to restyling the nation one person at a time.
Follow @fashionbyfitzieon Instagram or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info!