Carnival is a celebration of culture and creativity, the latter being an ideological pillar for us at TRIBE.
As one of the markers of our 15th anniversary, we wanted to acknowledge, celebrate and stimulate the creative lifeblood of our organization – our designers – and so the TRIBE Design Challenge was born.
To the casual observer, design work, especially for a Carnival band, can appear a highly glamourous affair. Though that it may be, it’s not all that it is, and each year our team of seasoned designers is tasked with producing costumes that meet (but ideally exceed) the expectations of the ever-increasingly demanding masquerader.
Contemporary global fashion trends must be adapted within the context of local culture, all while fitting in with our overall presentation theme, which makes for a very complex balancing act. So calling this newfound initiative a ‘challenge’ was by no means a casual coincidence, but rather a conscious reference to the rigours of costume design, and a respectful nod to all the effort that goes into it.
Despite this being its inaugural year, the response to the TRIBE Design Challenge was flattering to say the least, with close to 250 entrants each submitting a sample mood board in the hopes of being shortlisted at the end of Phase 1.
Tasked with whittling down this plethora of entries was an ensemble judging panel which comprised of founding sisters Monique and Lana Nobrega, alongside fashion and beauty expert Kathryn Nurse. With a bevy of raw talent to choose from, this list of 200+ entries was slowly cut down to 80, then 20, and finally 8, with the help of guest judges Gail Cabral, Ruana Evans and Melissa James.
Having decided on their top 8 candidates, it was time to move on to Phase 2, where the chosen few now had to bring their creative musings to life by building actual prototypes. Assisting them with this process were TRIBE design stalwarts Sandra Hordatt, Valmiki Maharaj, Richard Dookhdeen and Solange Govia. This design quartet served as mentors for the eight protégés, providing guidance on how to combine the colours, gems, feathers and fabrics from their mood boards to create physical specimens.
With eight prototypes now completed, the judging panel then had to pick their most promising trio, taking into consideration how aesthetics were complemented by functional elements such as production feasibility, durability and a host of other factors that impact the overall manufacturing process and end-user experience. Having chosen their top 3, the panel was entrusted with their final responsibility of selecting a winner from this trinity of well-tested talent.
During TRIBE’s launch presentation at the Festival of Bands, it was announced that the top spot went to Natasha Marshall, a resident New Yorker hailing from Jamaica.
Natasha is now an official member of the TRIBE design team, rubbing shoulders with some of the industry’s finest, and her winning design Tikal will be one of the 15 sections featured in our 2019 presentation, THE EMPIRE.
Welcome to our TRIBE Natasha!