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Richard Young

Richard Young has grown to become a recognizable staple in the Caribbean fashion landscape. Over the past 25 years, his extensive talent as a stylist, production designer, fashion coordinator, creative director and prolific impresario has led to him becoming one of the most sought after creative industry consultants in the region. He has been working consistently producing fashion, beauty and cultural industry related events from the Bahamas in the north of the archipelago to the Guianas in South America, with North-American stints in Miami, New York, Toronto and Montreal.

Mr. Young’s stakeholder status in fashion goes far beyond the imaginative merchandising showcases through which he celebrates Caribbean style. He was one of the founders of Designers' Association of Trinidad and Tobago (DATT), an organization which, towards the end of the eighties, sought to harness the talents and represent the interests of the plethora of fashion creatives. At that time, he also worked, closely with Consolidated Union of Trinidad and Tobago Active Garment Entrepreneurs (CUTTAGE), in mobilizing a 'cluster' approach to systematizing the fashion industry. In addition, he was a founding member of Fashion and Design Association of Trinidad and Tobago (FADATT), introduced by the Management Development Centre of Trinidad and Tobago and he served occasionally the Designers' Guild, an exclusive body of designers, in its promotional activities for its members.

During the eighties and the nineties, he was called upon by local Government agencies - the Trinidad and Tobago Development Finance Company Ltd (DFC), Management Development Centre (MDC) and Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) - to facilitate consolidating the interests of the national fashion fraternity. More recently, his portfolio included co- founder/creative director of Fashion Week Trinidad and Tobago (FWTT), executive member/creative director of Designers United Stores (DUS) - the producers of Tobago Fashion Weekend - and the founder/executive member of Fashion Entrepreneurs of Trinidad and Tobago (FETT). In 2013,Richard was elected as Chairman of the Fashion Association of Trinidad and Tobago (FATT).

In the early nineties, Richard was commissioned by the Caribbean Communication Network (CCN) to produce and direct the first-ever regional fashion week – Colour Me Caribbean – 1990 – 1992, wooing the BBC to cover this event for their program, The Clothes Show. In 1991, 1995, 2008 and 2013 the CARIFESTA organizing committees hired him as their Fashion Director. Between 1995 and 2000, the D’Orum Corporation of Chicago retained Richard as Production Designer and Platform Spokesperson for the merchandising thrust of their hair product range in the region. National program - Youth Training Entrepreneurship Partnership Program (YTEPP), the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs and National Entrepreneurship Development Company (NEDCO) have engaged his services to build related curricula and formulate dynamic proposals to diversify existing strategies for those under their fashion and creative arts portfolio. YTEPP appointed him on a select committee to create a syllabus for performing arts as well as to develop attitude development outlines to empower its creative arts hopefuls. The Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs, commissioned him to curate an Arts exhibition as part of a national Youth exposition event. NEDCO retained him to coordinate symposia, exhibitions and runway showings, focussing on their client base, but all in all, serving to strengthen the institutional framework of the local fashion industry. Borne out of a three day fashion event, 'Grandes Affaires', in 2005, an overview paper was drafted and Fashion Entrepreneurs of Trinidad and Tobago (FETT), as a representative organization emerged.

Mr. Young sees the appreciation of Caribbean style as the precursor to local/regional campaigning for a Caribbean brand, which in turn would incorporate all creative industries in showcasing our trademark talents, on an international scale. Indeed, he believes that a psyche shift is compulsory to militate against traditional thinking, so that economic diversification practices can prevail. Through the adoption of non-traditional forms of income generation, within the cultural industries, sustainable development initiatives can be engaged. As a result, he has developed fashion merchandizing methodologies which uniquely position our fashion wares, creditably and strategically and which ultimately facilitate the best possible global practice advantage. Designing fashion presentations have become his professional forte, having directed over 1000 creative arts showcases throughout the Caribbean. These event management feats have prepared him for his creative directorship of such regional staples as Guyana Fashion Week, Fashion Week Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua Fashion Weekend, Tobago Fashion Weekend with Rampage, Strut for a Cause and Fashion Fusion, the JQ Mall fashion extravaganza, becoming hallmark St Lucian fashion platforms. Hot Couture, the Caribbean runway collections, within the St Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival, adds to his St Lucian offering. With calculated involvement and artistic direction credit also afforded in French Guiana Fashion Week, Suriname Fashion Week, Barbados Fashion Week, Caribbean Fashion Week, Dominicana Moda, Cap Mod Guadeloupe/Martinique/St Martin and Haiti Fashion Week, it is evident that Mr. Young’s input in the advancement of fashion as a viable, regional economic sector has assumed philosophic, intellectual, conceptual, even architectural proportions.

His unique flair for Event Management resulted in him serving as a facilitator in the Event Management Program at the Open School for the Arts, an initiative of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (Trinidad), as well as at The Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business. He has been commissioned as creative consultant for television magazine shows- Dateline (Trinidad), Conversations with Madonna Doyle (Trinidad), Sunrise (St Lucia) and Diatribe (Guyana). In addition to being appointed the Director for the television reality series Guyana Model Search/Designers' Portfolio for a five year run, he was the Art Director of the first movie filmed in Antigua - The Sweetest Mango- He has further widened his reach by being cast as judge and creative consultant for the inaugural Caribbean's Next Top Model, aired on CBS. In addition, he was appointed casting director and creative director of shoots.. No stranger to the latter brand of production, having been instrumental in pioneering the first television model series - Synergy Super Model - in Trinidad and the very popular Guyana Model Search, in Guyana. He has contributed to a few regional magazines and has served as Style Editor for OMG magazine for the Trinidad Express. He did a stint as fashion editor at SHE Caribbean magazine and was also the Creative Director/Editor-in-Chief of 'makin' style', a Caribbean lifestyle magazine of Guyanese origin.

Richard’s professional acumen is widely recognized for his strategic and overarching pitches for both corporate and governmental organizations - having penned the proposals for the inclusion of fashion and its related event tourism events within the ongoing parliamentary and private sector dialogue, regionally. Due to his longstanding hands-on approach, he has been solicited to assist in strengthening the institutional integrity of the fashion industry framework by hosting seminars and conducting workshops, not only in the Caribbean, but through the Diaspora. Acknowledged, at the Barbados Music Fashion and Film Awards, for his resilient contribution to the development of Caribbean fashion branding, he was presented with a Regional Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2014, at the annual excellence of service awards of the Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industries, he was nominated in three categories - "best use of innovation in services", "service exporter of the year" and "service provider of the year". He sees his hallmark effort to be commissioned as creative director of "Cuttin' Style", a Caribbean fashion exposition and extravaganza staged as part of "Panamania", the Art and Culture program of Pan Am Games, Toronto, 2015. Throughout his career, he has been singled out, through many an accolade, as exemplary in his commitment to the principle of a regional fashion ideology - the Government of Guyana bestowed a plaque for his excellence in directing the fashion component of Carifesta IX; Shabeau Magazine rewarded him with an award of excellence in the pursuit of branding Caribbean fashion; the executive of Guyana Fashion Week accredited him, for his uncompromising contribution to the advancement of its local fashion industry. In 2015, Style Week Port of Spain presented him with a "fashion industry pioneer award".

He has been equally recognized by a wide cross section of cultural/creative organizations, regionally, for his unparalleled yeoman service, his superlative youth empowerment mandates, his versatile beauty arts/pageant development methods and his synergistic regional creative arts promotions. Being touted as the Caribbean fashion guru on the television program, Caribbean's Next Top Model, for his exceptional track record as a pageant/ model coach and his outstanding validation of the Caribbean aesthetic. Recognized as an authority on the Caribbean Aesthetic, within the feasibility study, conducted by the Trinidad and Tobago Fashion Company Limited (FashionTT) and Syntegra Change Architects Limited, Mr Young, now, proudly owns up to the accolade.

In terms of sustainable development networking, Mr. Young has been responsible for many a launch of existing designers as well as the strategic positioning of their apparel/wares for feasible new markets, regionally and even further afield. By creating opportunities at other trade/runway platforms, designers have been able to broaden client-base. Noteworthy efforts include 'Cutting Style' hosted in Toronto, in conjunction with the Trinidad and Tobago Consulate-General; Caribbean Fashion and Music Fair in Philadelphia; Creative Shades, Montreal; Montreal Caribbean Fashion Week; Carib Style, Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Bridging the Gap - Connecting Caribbean Style, Brooklyn, New York.

His work with National Entrepreneurship Development Company Limited (2004-2007), not only spawned the emergence of FETT but branded a whole new realm of niche market designers with a clear-cut vision that their worth is directly proportional to the gross domestic product (GDP). Mr Young has a formidable history of mounting exhibitions, coordinating symposia, facilitating seminars and conducting interactive workshops, centered on style and imaging with a Caribbean branding perspective.

At several fora, he has been handpicked to present as a motivator to creatives on Caribbean innovation, enterprise and methodology. He has presented at Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business on event management and event design. He has facilitated at Caribbean Academy of Fashion Design, University of Trinidad and Tobago on fashion merchandising methods. He has been called upon to facilitate at the Department of Liberal Arts, University of the West Indies within the masters program - creative design: entrepreneurship.

He has produced many a series of talks on on-the-job performance style and consumer/client/co-worker communication technique. He has coordinated image enhancement/attitude development workshops, as well as he developed personal and professional grooming programs. He advocates vehemently on creative event tourism practice as intrinsic to feasible, viable and sustainable destination marketing strategies in developing, modern societies. He serves purposely as media spokesperson for many of his projects. Recently, in conjunction with Nicole Dyer-Griffith, he has developed a forum for social discourse, within a safe space, Oxygen with Nicole, O2N, at which he serves as moderator.

Young's passion for things Caribbean has become legendary. To date, the widely-celebrated style professional is producing innovative fashion showings/exhibitions, cataloguing, curating and styling creative/cultural layouts and consulting on a wide range of creative industry related projects. Noteworthy mention is his production design of the launch of Rosemarie Stone's book on the history of fashion in Trinidad and Tobago, at the National Museum. His involvement in the areas of strategic branding, image consultancy, event management and production design has spanned projects endorsing youth empowerment initiatives, customer relations practices, art direction for stage, film and television and all in all creative industry networking.

He is consumed by an avid preoccupation with our distinctive way of expressing and imaging. This, he deems, our idiosyncratic Caribbean style. Its attendant, dynamic and creative merchandising essence, fueled by his inimitable fervor, rally to celebrate our Caribbean Aesthetic, while uniquely positioning this inimitable brand to the world, unapologetically. In spite of his crusading Caribbean mission, he never loses sight of universal, yet intrinsic, precepts as he seeks to maintain relevance to the ever changing needs of the global fashion industry.

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