Identification: The name “Saint Vincent” was presented to the island by Columbus in honor of Saint Vincent of Saragossa, a Spanish saint on his discovery of the island on 22 January 1498. The name “Grenadines” was known “pomegranate” in Spanish language.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines altogether called simply as Saint Vincent, it is an Anglo-Caribbean country consisting of several smaller islands in it.
Location and Geography: Kingstown is the capital and main port. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines cover about 369 km2 (142 sq mi) territory consisting of the one third main island of Saint Vincent and the northern two-thirds of the Grenadines, a total of 32 smaller islands. It is a densely populated country for its original size about 300 inhabitants/km2 with approximately 110,211 inhabitants. On Saint Vincent, most of the population lives in the southern two third area of the island because the volcano occupies the northern third part of the island. The capital, Kingstown, and its suburbs have a population of around 25,000 people.
Saint Vincent served as a British colonial country once, and is now part of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, CARICOM, the Commonwealth of Nations, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas and CELAC.
Linguistic Affiliation. The official language of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is English. Normally some natives speak a creole known locally as “dialect.”
Trade. The main trade partners of Saint Vincent are the United States, other CARICOM (Caribbean common market) countries, the United Kingdom, and the European Economic Community. Saint Vincent has very little manufacturing facilities, so most of the trade is in bananas, arrowroot, and other agricultural produce. In spite of the peasant economy, all of the food staples used daily by Vincentians – flour, rice, sugar, salt cod are imported for their basic needs from neighborhood countries surrounding the islands.
Support for the Arts. The visual arts are not highly elaborated on Saint Vincent and Grenadines. Several musical groups do support themselves and mainly by tours and record sales off the island.
Graphic Arts. There is a little in the way of graphic arts in these islands. Occasionally an individual self-taught artist will gain attention.
Performance Arts. Calypso, Soka, Reggae, and Gospel are majorly performed music forms in Saint Vincent.
National wear and costume:
A formal cocktail was held at the residence of Prime Minister Dr. Hon. Ralph Gonsalves on Friday 22nd November, 2019, to unveil the national wear of the country. This event unveiled the national wear for both men and women for official events and also a national costume for more elaborate and stage occasions.
PM Gonsalves added that the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines have been experimenting with different forms of national wears over the years, but in the 40th Anniversary of the country’s independence, it had then become an absolute necessary for the nation to affirm particular forms to constitute their National Wear.
The National Costume for Female and Male category was won by Debbie Barbour. Two other designers, Jeremy Payne and Sophelia Blucherb’s designs won the female and male national wear respectively.
Jeremy Payne, a local fashion designer of St Vincent. His design was a white ankle-length cotton dress. The bodice was designed with lacing at front and gathered beneath the bust. The top was finished with puff sleeves and gathered at the elbow. The long flowy skirt, complemented by an apron collected at one side, created a triangular shape at front side. The original pattern of breadfruit leaves is used, yellow and green colors added contrast to the design.
The national wear for women by Jeremy Payne was inspired from a white 1800s inspired gown with white apron and head wrap to match. The inspiration for that dress was drawn from an Italian artist named Agostino Brunias’s paintings.
He said that he used the apron because it pays homage to the working class of Saint Vincent because back in the day, and even now, we can find market vendors, shop keepers, farmers, everyone wears an apron to hold their money or whatever bits and pieces they have around them to hold it close with them safely.
For the color white, Payne said that, “It’s not that it should be white, it’s just that he liked to work with white because of its cleanliness and the white color gives an opportunity to customise it. So, people could definitely add colour accordingly to their wish, it’s not that it’s set in stone”.
Payne said that whoever chooses to wear the dress can easily add colour to the dress but the choice to use white was also to pay homage to the St Vincent and the Grenadines’ history with cotton.
He says that his design is representative of the past, present and future.
Garment designed by designer, Payne – Left. Design Inspiration – Right The designer, Sofilia Blucher copped the National Wear Men’s version. She presented a traditional yet modern look three-piece outfit – waistcoat, shirt and a matching pair of black long pants. African kente fabric was used to make the waistcoat, the shape at the bottom imitates the shape of the diamonds in the National Flag. The shirt had style features from the African male dashiki and was trimmed with kente cloth on the collar, sleeves and wrists. The pair of black pants was rather simple but it incorporated the hints of black in the kente fabric Model’s wearing Sofilia Blucher’s (Centre) design.
The National Costume for both Female and Male was won by Debbie Barbour, another local designer. Ms. Barbour’s designs are said to have taken into consideration aspects of the country’s history/heritage. Her female costume boasted a creole dress with: a white-cotton, off-the-shoulder bodice with frills around the top arm and quarter-length sleeve finished with a square drape in it; with several layers of frills, the side panels of the skirt gets complete and dominated by an original breadfruit leaf design on it. The side panels added volume very well to the dress. The waist was accentuated with a wide band which was tied into a large bow at the front side and this ensemble was completed with a coiffe head-dress.
with her designs.
Her male costume echoed the aesthetic features of the female designs, making both a well-coordinated design. The knee-length blue pants, topped by a long-sleeved shirt with elegant cravat and hip-length waistcoat with original breadfruit leaf design bespoke elegance and ease of wearing them.
The name of all the above-mentioned designers will go in history for their huge contribution in designing their national wear and costume for their 40th Independence Anniversary.