Sunday, July 20, 2008

Preparing for Toronto

One of the main goals is to have a Liz Mannette presence wherever there is a large community of steelpan people. This is our intention because we always want to remain true to our roots, and we came out of the steelpan and steeldrums world.

So in keeping with this goal, we have been deliberately reaching out to the main steelband shows, at least in the United States for this year. We've been to Maine, West Virginia and soon we will be in Toronto, London, Tokyo and New York. This is certainly a lot of travel and a big stretch for a startup fashion company based in Trinidad and Tobago. But the steelpan pioneering spirit is within us at Liz Mannette so we have no hesitation about stepping out.

And it brings real satisfaction to see the faces of those who email us, or the pannists we may never have met, if not for our designs. In fact, it certainly reinforces to me the unifying nature of the steelpan. People from so many different groups, countries, ethnicities, languages, etc are all brought together by this instrument invented in Trinidad and Tobago.

So our next big step is into Toronto. We will have a unique display at the York University's conference on Carnival. I don't think there is another fashion company at a Carnival conference. So Liz Mannette Inc. will be the first.

But I specifically wanted to be at this conference because it will expose the Collection to a different audience of academics, artists and intellectuals- I hope.
It also forced us at Liz Mannette to think a bit more about the philosophy behind the Collection so that our display could be in sync with the theme of the conference. This was a bit of a challenge, but I knew that the reasons for starting the entire line were all part of the immigrant's need for belonging in a foreign land. And that was what this conference was about. So stay tuned for further news on our presence in Toronto at the York U Conference. And of course if you are in Toronto, do come over and say hello to us. We'd love to meet with you.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My first designs

As I share in my bio on the site, this fashion design company really started when I could not find quality pan items for myself and to give as gifts. This was about three years ago in 2005. And so, I decided to create my own jewelry and accessories.

However, since I did not know how to make jewelry and frankly, I had no strong interest in doing so, I did the next best thing, which is to find someone with the skill and expertise I did not have.

And so, after a search for a local jeweler who was willing to spend the time and effort to work with me to create a design --the bass pan line of items was born. The first piece I designed was the bass pan pendant. And I chose the bass pan because I had never seen any jewelry with the bass pan. Most of what was available were variations on the tenor pan. And I say "variations" because they were all rough approximations of a pan. This really offended me, because I felt that if I were to wear a steelpan, it should be an actual ("authentic") design of a pan.

This led me to Ellie Mannette's company where I borrowed some note layouts and found the accurate bass pan dimensions and specifications. So all the pieces are proportionate to the existing 55 gallon oil drum

I would love to hear from you if you have seen steelpan jewelry anywhere in the world that you like. If we can create an online marketplace with the best steelpan accessories and lifestyle products of the highest quality, I think it would be just great.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Starting Out with Liz Mannette

This is it. I've finally jumped in and started the blog to track the development and launch of our fashion design company. This is a big step and I was determined to do it by the end of June. So, at least I've kept close to my deadline.

But what is this all about? Liz Mannette has been launched as a fashion design company for people who like the music of the steelpan, also known as steeldrums, or steel drums.

And the purpose of this blog is to share the development and goings-on with customers and also to receive comments, questions, opinions, etc from all who have an interest in steelpan, fashion and everything in between.

The name of the fashion line, at this point, is Liz Mannette, which is an abbreviated version of my name and I am the main designer of all the products as of now. Initially I started with another name..StrumOn... but after considering the successful business models in the fashion world, and getting a few thumbs down from an unscientific test of that choice, I figured I'd do what the big names have done successfully...use my own name as the brand. And given the Mannette name awareness in the steelpan world, I figured, why not capitalize on this ready awareness. So from Elizabeth Mannette emerged Liz Mannette, and the journey is now underway.

What do I mean by a fashion design company for people who like the music of the steel drums and the steel pans?

Simple.The instrument was invented in Trinidad and Tobago around the 1930s and by migration of Trinis (as locals of Trinidad and Tobago are called) it spread all around the world, mainly to big cities of London, New York, etc, but eventually throughout the world creating what we now know as the Steelpan Diaspora.

Now the music connects a global audience on each continent, of diverse players, supporters, musicians, educators, male, female, young, old, rich, poor, black, white and brown, and others who share the passion and love for all things associated with this instrument.

Our aim at Liz Mannette is to design beautiful, classic, elegant and stylish fashion and lifestyle accessories to enable people of the steelpan world to reflect and express their love of the music in the daily lives.

We'd love to hear from you.

thanks for reading