FashionTT Set to Diversify Economy with Value Chain Investment Programme
Photo caption: Lisa-Marie Daniel, General Manager of FashionTT (Designer: Charu Lochan Dass)
Photo credit: Anthony Scully
The Trinidad and Tobago Fashion Company Limited’s (FashionTT) flagship initiative, the Value Chain Investment Programme (VCIP), is well on its way to diversifying Trinidad and Tobago’s economy with five local designers being selected to pilot the transformation. According to FashionTT’s General Manager, Lisa-Marie Daniel, “The VCIP is one of the cornerstone initiatives of the fashion industry’s strategic plan aimed at transforming the sector and making it more lucrative in the long-term. This is a five-year programme that will accept a new cohort of designers each year, thereby producing at least twenty-five designers who will be on the cusp of exporting their creations globally. Five designers have been selected to participate in the first Non-Global Value Chain component of the programme and they are working closely with FashionTT and project consultant, Vincent Quan, to improve their business operations and marketing strategies.”
Vincent Quan, Associate Professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology recently concluded the second round of consultations with the five local designers selected to participate in the Non-Global Value Chain (Non-GVC) tier of the VCIP initiative - Ecliff Elie, Charu Lochan Dass, Millhouse, J. Angelique and Ted Arthur Leather Collections. During these meetings, Quan worked with each designer to review their business plans, develop strategies around gaps identified and investigate the supply side of the Trinidad and Tobago value chain (trims, cloth and other materials).
Daniel explained, “The recently held consultations were highly productive and each designer now has an in depth understanding and catalogue of the input products available locally as well as an awareness of available local labour e.g. seamstresses and small manufacturing facilities. These designers are also scheduled to submit their completed business plans within the next few weeks.”
In addition to the Non-GVC tier, FashionTT has partnered with the National Entrepreneurship Development Company Limited (NEDCO) to work with designers in the Incubator tier of the VCIP with the aim of refining their business model and plan for future commercial growth and development. “Our hope is that upon completion of the mentorship programme with NEDCO, these twelve designers may graduate to the Non-GVC tier and be better positioned to leverage this training for the benefit of their companies and the industry as a whole,” Daniel added.
FashionTT’s VCIP commenced in 2016 by recruiting a three-member screening panel that interviewed twenty-nine designers on several criteria such as retail understanding, product quality, marketing strategy, financial compliance, export production capacity, etc. This is a five-year programme, at the end of which more than one hundred local designers will have benefited from training and business process re-engineering, thereby enabling them to boost local revenue and export generation.