Kristy Ramnarine grew up in Tabaquite, a cocoa village located in Central Trinidad which instilled in her a love for the outdoors and nature. During her schooling her love for the English Language encouraged her to write. Her obvious career path was journalism.
Her first media stint was at TTT where she started working in 2001 until the company’s closure in 2005. At the Guardian newspaper, she honed her skills as a writer, finding a niche in environmental and tourism reporting for which she won several awards. It was during this time she started working with the Carnival band TRIBE as a Public Relations advisor, getting her feet wet in event management. Her career path prepared her for entry into new media at Trinidad Express, where, as part of the interactive news team, she produced, edited and presented two-minute interactive bulletins for the Trinidad Express website. In 2015, she moved to CNC3, an arm of Guardian Media Limited where she was responsible for the production of the Weekend News. Over the years she has continuously worked on putting together events, which only made her transition from producer to Event Manager at Guardian Media a seamless one.
Fashion designing has always been a dream and a passion of hers. Kristy expresses that her mother is a very talented woman and from a very young age being able to look at her design and sew clothing always inspired her to do the same. Although their talents are different and Kristy never picked up sewing, she definitely got her sense of style. That fashion sense continued when she embraced dressing modestly in 2014, following her marriage to Fuad Abu Bakr. As it was very difficult to source trendy, fashionable clothing, Kristy often designed outfits and had her mum sew them. Added to Kristy’s professional accomplishments, today she is the proud owner and founder of Zamani Caribbean, modest fashions for the trendy woman. In an interview with the WE Mag team, Kristy shared a bit about the experience of launching her own line. Here’s what she shared with us:
Tell us about Zamani Caribbean, what is keeping you excited?
Sometime after Carnival 2019, I discussed my dream of launching a modest clothing line with businessman Fred Chin Lee who recently died. It was a discussion I felt comfortable having after seeing Mr Chin Lee’s selfless attempts to promote local artisans and designers. Then, before you know it, he was there encouraging me to take the leap. On October 26, 2019, Zamani Caribbean became a reality. Zamani Caribbean is a modest clothing line which caters for all women. With the aim of making women feel confident and comfortable Zamani Caribbean uses colourful blends of fabric bought and sewn right here in Trinidad and Tobago.
What was your biggest fear when going out and starting your own line?
It’s not just about starting a line but a modest fashion line. “Modest fashion” refers to clothing which conceals, rather than accentuates the body. Dresses that sweep the floor, sleeves which past the wrist and necklines which rise to the chin. Part of me wondered whether or not I was making the right decision. Whether modest fashion would sell locally.
But internationally modest fashion was making inroads. In September, Nike launched its first campaign with a hijab-wearing ambassador. And last September, Halima Aden became the first hijab-wearing model to grace the cover of British Vogue. The mainstreaming of modest fashion was taking place. Therefore what better time to launch my very own line. The name says it all Zamani (My Time).
What is your ultimate goal or biggest dream for your future?
God has blessed me with multiple gifts. I am a wife, mother, writer and an event planner. Now, I’m a fashion designer. My aim is to continue using my God given talents to grow the Zamani Caribbean brand and at the same time be the best wife and mother that I could be.
Why do you do what you do?
You have to love what you do in order to do it. Of course I love life and I love doing what I do. I love penning words which inspire people, planning professional events and seeing people enjoy themselves at them; and designing clothes which make women feel confident. Chic, comfortable modest clothing with a Caribbean flair.
Do you have any advice for women who may want to venture into modest fashion design or fashion designing in general?
If it’s your dream, work on it until it becomes a reality. Fashion search platform Lyst released its Year in Fashion 2019 report which revealed that internet searches for modest fashion have risen by 90 per cent in the last year. According to The Washington Post the modest fashion industry is slotted to make $373 billion in 2022. Modest fashion is now mainstream, it’s a trend which will continue to grow. Zamani (My time) can be your time as well!