Stunning and simple, Trinidad-based Willow and Oak is a contemporary brand that is a local favorite by our partner in highlighting Trinidadian businesses to support, Anya Ayoung-Chee. While we were unable to connect directly with the brand’s founder, Shandelle Loregnard, we found an amazing interview with her on an incredible Caribbean platform called Designer Island.
We encourage you to check out the full interview at Designer Island, and follow that platform for other features on inspiring Caribbean creatives!
In the meantime, here are some excerpts from Shandelle’s feature on Designer Island.
Read full article HERE.
Di: Has the difference between Trinidad and New York influenced you similarly?
WO: When I was in Trinidad, I had one idea of fashion and where it needed to be: on the runway. I thought I had to do runway and I had to have a collection, and have to, have to, have to.
In New York, though, the environment and the people made me want to take a different course. I wanted a more minimal look and more everyday wear that was easily accessible, not stuff that was intimidating. I want you to walk into a store and feel like, ‘Yes, that’s what I love!’
Right after FIT, I did a summer internship at Tome. Then I got to work for them! They were also really a huge part of me in getting to where I am now. They do all their production in New York and all their design in-house. It’s minimal, simple, easy… because it’s made in New York, it’s expensive but accessible and sustainable with ethical practices. That’s what I want for my designs: to be able to bring them back down to the people.
So everything that was bunched up in my head, became clear and I suddenly wanted to come back home so that I could create a brand from Trinidad, not a brand in New York that represents Trinidad. I want to be able to export and help our fashion industry.
Di: And what’s the one thing you’d want us to remember about Willow & Oak – the brand and the style?
WO: First, the Willow & Oak girl… She’s a minimalist Caribbean woman, and I use both terms because I feel like my products connect a nice range of ages. She loves unique, easy-to-wear pieces that are almost like wearable art — easy to style and easy to wear every day.
Then, the aesthetic. Although I create the piece, I want the person who purchases the piece to feel like they’ve become the artist. So style it however you want, wear it however you want — one piece or two, off the shoulder or not, I hand the piece over to you so you can do anything you want. That’s why it’s made by an artist… for an artist!
Visit Willow and Oak online
All photos are contributed.