TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO X DOMINICA | Meiling x Vanessa Winston

The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange


Meiling has designed a hand embroidered gown of organdie, silk and leather, matched with a leather corset belt, tooled with butterflies made in Dominica by Vanessa Winston, and a pair of trousers made from upcycled Indian fabric. Meiling says about her experience in this project that “collaboration in the Caribbean is natural. In fact, the region itself is born out of a melding of various cultures, each bringing its own traditions and techniques. My partnership with Ms. Vanessa Winston of Dominica is very much a representation of this. Due to the region recently uniting to endure a tumultuous hurricane season, the spirit of fraternity has never been more relevant. Since I am known for my hand-detailed and embroidered garments, it felt natural that I worked with Vanessa who is an expert in handmade crafts and leather goods. As a result of designing the actual garment, I led the creative process. Although we maintained our positions on our respective islands throughout the design phase, technology greatly facilitated communication…I hope to collaborate again with Vanessa in the near future.”


For the last thirty years, Meiling has dedicated herself to her brand Meiling, Trinidad’s favourite fashion brand, and has won many accolades over the years culminating in the Chaconia Silver Medal, a national award given to the designer for her long and meritorious service to Trinidad & Tobago’s business sector.

Vanessa Winston

Dominica born Vanessa Winston works hard to keep the craft industry in Dominica alive and strong by undertaking regular training programs to teach craft from natural and recycled materials and promoting other local crafts. It is from this passion that the New Beginning Craft Workshop was set up, as a social-economic project for experienced craftsmen and artisans teach craft modules to at risk and unemployed youth. Vanessa is part of the Dominica Arts & Crafts Producers Association, a cooperative that helps local artisans produce the best possible quality, and sufficient quantities for international export and to meet local demand. Working alongside Meiling, Vanessa has created a leather corset belt, tooled with butterflies.

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