Arlene Bartholomew-Singh who proudly hails from the Arima community, is a mother of four, grandmother of six and as many know, the president, owner and designer of Asa Market where she makes custom-designed fashion, jewellery and art pieces.
Arlene says that her passion for fashion and design started from an early age. She often found herself stitching and cutting into her clothing while other children were out playing. She sees design as her true form of self-expression, a way to let people understand who she is. She studied dressmaking and design at the John Donaldson Technical Institute, followed by a two-year apprenticeship with the late Andre Belix. She then went on to create an exclusive line of clothing for men labelled ‘Male Call’.
Over the years Arlene has been able to grow and maintain a loyal tribe who she caters to with custom-made clothing, jewellery and now, contemporary art. Known and loved for her afrocentric, bright colours, quality fabric, beautiful patterns and silhouettes, Arlene is waving the flag for Arima high in the local fashion industry. Check out our quick interview with her below:
What was the biggest challenge you have had to overcome and how did you deal with it?
My biggest challenge was not being able to finance my dreams, as my situation was one of sole parenting. My ambitions were placed on the back burner, some were even shelved. However, today I have been able to push through some of these challenges by establishing my brand – one that is supported by my committed clientele.
Tell us something about you that people may not know.
About 10 years ago I had some health issues that forced me to downsize not only my business but my social life. Although I managed to work through this, it’s still a reality that many aren’t aware of.
What are you most grateful for?
I remain grateful to God for every morning I wake up, and to my family, friends and faithful customers for their love and support.
What is something you know for sure that you wish the rest of us knew?
I know for sure that life will continually challenge you, and where you are is not who you are, so don’t make it a camping ground, it’s only a path you must go through. I live my life believing “It ain’t over till it’s over and that the best is yet to come”.