designer_series | idlewood
“…Migos and Mozart…”
Happy Monday all!
The beginning of a new month so rise, shine and get to your grind!
As you’ve noticed, I took a little hiatus from
life blogging for a bit, but as Fashion Month comes to a conclusion, I’m going to try to get back into the swing of things.
I can’t make any promises as I have a lot on my plate for the next few months, but we’ll see how much I get done.🤓
And of course, I haven’t forgotten about the wonderfully insightful Designer_Series I’ve started.
To be honest, out of all of the mini projects I’ve done on my blog, this has to be one of the more fulfilling ones.
Not only is it personally close to me, as I am interacting with and featuring designers from my home country, but it is also quite interesting to hear what these creatives have to say about the industry and their place in it!
And of course, despite all the stresses🙃🙃, I do enjoy giving them a few images that they can use for their own promo.
Anyway, you don’t want to hear me ramble so we’ll get straight into the interview, this time featuring my
fellow Leo, fellow Asian fellow creative – Marcus Ling of Idlewood Bespoke.
If you’re in Trinidad, pop into the studio in Woodbrook and say hello to Marcus and Omar, the space manager, who is also a wonderfully multi-talented artist – some of whose work you’ll see also featured in the images!
So…tell me a little bit about your brand?
I created Idlewood about four years ago in Shanghai, China.
For reasons I can’t adequately describe, other than a strong gut feeling, I moved to Trinidad and opened my Port-of-Spain studio in March 2018.
My studio functions as a space for my clothing as well as a creative hub to showcase artists, musicians, and other designers.
“…all creativity flows together…”
My background is in suit design.
I truly enjoy the process of coming up with ideas specifically tailored to the client, factoring in what situations they’ll be wearing the suit as well as getting a sense of their personality, and styling in accordance.
Wearing a well-fitting custom suit instantly makes people stand taller, become more confident, and feel more substantial.
I also want to challenge preconceived notions that suits are only worn out of necessity to an office job, to a wedding, to a funeral.
Suits can be fun, they can have wild colors or patterns, they can be high-quality yet affordable, and they can be worn whenever you damn well please!
So if you had to describe your brand with emojis, it would be?
Who would you say is your ideal client?
Someone who enjoys stylish, well-constructed pieces.
Someone who notices details.
Someone who appreciates quality over quantity.
Someone who listens to Migos and Mozart.
Someone who aspires to be vibrant and creative.
Someone who wants to conquer their fears.
This is the kind of person I would say is my ideal client.
What is a major misconception about you or your brand?
A major misconception about Idlewood is that we only make men’s clothing. In fact, we make custom suits for women as well!
In most cases, it is even more important for women rather than men to have a custom suit instead than buying off the rack, as women often have curvier, more unique bodies.
Another misconception is that we only make suits.
As I’ve moved to Trinidad and worked on adapting to this market, I’ve branched out and started designing ready-to-wear shirts, pants, and jumpsuits that are better suited to the climate and culture.
Last year, I launched a ready-to-wear collaboration with Meiling, as an exercise of sorts in Caribbean minimalism with loads of black and white tops.
And, currently I have three distinct ready-to-wear collections in the works launching from late 2018 to early 2019.
…and the industry?
I think a misconception about the industry in general is that fashion is something that’s frivolous or non-essential.
Maybe it’s the Leo in me, but it’s important for me to have some sense of control over my own life, my own narrative.
“…fashion is one way we can take back some sense of
ownership and control in our lives…”
Lots of things in life are out of our control.
We cannot control our gender, skin color, height, family background, etc., but fashion is one way we can take back some sense of ownership and control in our lives.
You, as a human being, can present yourself to the world the way you want to be seen. You can convey your own essence and what you stand for.
And that to me is a beautiful thing.
Do you have any current frustrations you face within the industry?
There are always frustrations and obstacles in any field.
Thankfully, unlike other local designers, production isn’t as big an issue for me – I still produce in China.
This allows me to not only cut down on production costs, but prevents me from tripping over other designers in terms of resources.
In fact, there have been a few local designers I’ve outsourced production for and I would gladly help others.
However, customs in Trinidad is the bane of my existence!
It’s also a bit of a challenge to get some people, especially men, to be comfortable enough to dress uniquely and stylishly without being self-conscious – but this is a challenge I relish.
People think “Oh, I don’t think I can pull off this color or that so-and-so style,” but you can literally wear anything you want and it’ll look swaggy as long as it’s well-fitting and well-designed.
Don’t be afraid to try ah ting!
And finally, do you have any advice for young creatives in Trinidad, hoping to break into the fashion industry?
I would say that if you’re passionate about something, learn as much about it as humanly possible.
Don’t limit yourself to just one creative form; all creativity flows together.
Observe those you admire and don’t be afraid to talk to people who’s energy you vibe with.
Be confident in your abilities but always remember you are capable of much more.
Take steps to become as self-aware as possible. People will appreciate you for who you are rather than someone you’re pretending to be.
Eat breakfast and drink lots of water.
And feel free to swing by my studio, chat, and play with my dog, Roti!
‘model’ and designer; Marcus Ling (@marcus_ling)
featured artwork; Omar Jarra (@omar_jarra_)
photographer; Matthew Creese (@matthewcreesephoto)
creative direction & styling; Yannick Gibson (@yarnes08)