Guyana Clothing Market


In the process of selling wholesale clothing to stores in Guyana for a few years now, I have also discovered that there is a distinct local clothing fashion market.

Guyana has a lot of claims to fame. It is the only South American nation that promoted English to official language status; it is the only Caribbean nation that is not an island and it gained its independence from Britain in 1966 but fashion and clothing are not part of those claims to fame.

In fact, it is very rare for a Guyana fashion designer to gain any sort of international recognition as clothing is not seen in Guyana as an art form. Part of the problem with Guyana’s clothing market is that it is still a developing nation and lacks support from the national government.

This lack may be because fashion or clothing is not a primary industry for the little country, the 4th smallest on the South America continent. That honor goes to products like sugar, rice, coconuts, gold, diamonds and timber. Clothing is relegated to the group of products, flour, soap, cigarettes and soft drinks, who combine to produce about 9% of the total manufacturing output of the country.

But that may be changing as one rising star, the owner behind the Guyana born and bred Sha Sha Designs Keisha Edwards, is looking to make a difference in the Guyana Fashion industry. Her work has been seen in the United Kingdom, America, the Caribbean as well as a special appearance at the American White House.

She said that the fashion industry in the country is not where it should be and that more investment is needed to develop that industry. One role she does influence is in bringing more fashion shows to the tiny nation.

One previous fashion show sought to help people learn to find those little individual pieces of clothing that makes them stand out from the rest of the country’s population. It seems that work has paid off as more fashion shows have come to Guyana.

Another designer that has risen through the ranks is Sonia Noel, as she has spent the last 20 years or so trumpeting the designs of her native country and those from around the Caribbean. She feels that Guyana’s and other Caribbean nation’s designers have a lot to offer the international world of fashion.

One location in the fashion world where Guyana designers could make a name for themselves is the so-called niche market. That is because the niche market likes unique, creative and forward thinking fashion items and that attitude fits the Guyana designers to a T.

One of the problems for Guyana designers is that they are not looked upon by the more famous fashion designers in Europe or America as people who have something to offer their industry. This is a big challenge for the designers not only in Guyana but in the rest of the Caribbean. The elite designers of the fashion world just have not caught onto the Guyana design style which includes the use of tie dye processes or the innovative use of beads, seeds, wood, bamboo in collage combinations.

The Guyana fashion concept just hasn’t made the mark it should have though its top designers think it would provide great inspiration to the rest of the fashion world.