Designer Ecliff Elie opens Tobago store

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Designer Ecliff Elie with one of his dress pants on sale at his store in Crown Point, Tobago. Photo by David Reid

WELL-KNOWN fashion designer Ecliff Elie has opened a flagship store in Tobago.

The retail outlet was opened on Monday in Crown Point and offers both formal and resort wear, with an assortment of suits, blazers and shirts in both classic and unconventional designs. Ties, belts and dress shoes are also available.

At the opening ceremony, founder and managing director Elie said he is in Tobago to assist men in their attire.

Designer Ecliff Elie, left, helps customer Nigel Williams try on a suit at his store in Crown Point on Tuesday. Photo by David Reid

“I’m not here to just sell clothing. I’m not here to just sell a brand. I came to Tobago to help the men dress. We’re offering image consultancy where we can help you put your wardrobe into perspective.

“Whatever your profession, you can come in, set an appointment, we can help you. We can guide you, help you build your wardrobe, teach you how to be consistent, that is what we’re here for, really and truly, to help the Tobago men dress – and dress properly.”

He said his store was not his first time catering for the Tobago market. He recalled travelling on the seabridge to sell clothes at the side of the road in Scarborough via his station wagon.

“At that time, I was doing imitation T-shirts. So what I did, I would purchase enough fabric and sold 1,000 T-shirts of imitation brands, so I’ll print like a Jordan on it, Reebok, Adidas and so on – imitation clothing.

“I would sell these garments for like $50 for one and three for $100. What I realised was that people in Trinidad and Tobago weren’t interested in clothing, what they were interested in was brand and brand names like Nike, Adidas and Levi.”

He said after realising this, he knew he needed to start building his own brand and decided to toss out the imitation brand business.

Fashion designer Ecliff Elie at his store in Crown Point on Tuesday. Photo by David Reid

“I decided to use my own name. I never liked my first name Ecliff, I always liked my last name, Elie, and I remember I had this friend name Garvin Padmore who said, ‘Ecliff, why don’t you put your name on the clothes.’

“I told him I don’t like my name as I used to get heckle about my first name, and he said if you look at Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole, Giorgio Armani, Ecliff Elie, Gucci – your name is sticking right there…try it.’

“And I remembered when I had my first e-mail address, the Ecliff Elie was together and I found the Ecliff Elie sounded really good and I said this is going to be my branding, and from there there was no turning back. I continued pushing the brand.”

He said the journey was not an easy one as it came with a lot of challenges but he continued to do what he loved. With three stores in Trinidad, why open a fourth in Tobago at this time?

“People from Tobago will tell you that they love to dress, they like options. I am here to help them choose the best options.”