FASHION ROAD TRIP: Featuring the Folk Research Centre, Pigeon Island National Park — unique St. Lucian heirlooms

FASHION ROAD TRIP: Featuring the Folk Research Centre, Pigeon Island National Park — unique St. Lucian heirlooms
Peter Item - as it was known during the American settlement - now referred to as Pigeon Pointe Photos by Dylan Isaac

As we approach Emancipation day, Helena Isaac takes up the banner, sharing the St. Lucian cultural experience, as her response to the pandemic as a St. Lucian artiste and continuing to promote the cultural awareness that underscores our heritage and identity.

The ruins of this building standing in Mount Pleasant Ridge overseeing the city of Castries is steeped in history and culture. Innumerable cultural artifacts were obliterated by a fire in March 2018.

Helena Isaac celebrates our resilience, featuring the edifice of the Folk Research Centre (FRC). Designing in St. Lucia for several years, she is well placed to contribute to the conversation on fashion. She has designed for many illustrious St. Lucian personalities from the governor general emeritus to ‘ordained’ queens of the cultural and carnival pageants of the Caribbean.

What is fashion, why is it important beyond what we wear?
The determination to herald the cultural ethos of St. Lucia is the aim, in the wake of our 2020 challenges. The tones and textures that are interlaced with our history, the trauma and the glory, find a voice in Helena’s work. That is fashion! It is this light, the illumination to the St.Lucian psyche that was the vision and mainstay of the Folk Research Centre. It is who we are, and how we wear and define ourselves.

Plas Wichès Foklò- The Folk Research Centre, Mount Pleasant
Photos by Reese Harris, Shaddy Isaac

One would understand the zeal of the founding members and the ardour of the workers such as the late Joyce Auguste OBE, cultural icon — the inspiration behind our first editorial photoshoot. For Helena Isaac, the work of these stalwarts transcend to the tiers of society and serve a percussive function in attempts to sculpt an idea of St. Lucian-ness. Joyce Auguste’s legacy, especially to music, her poise and stature, her formidable and unrelenting celebration of this nation give hope again – not for recognition – but serve as a reminder to develop our own and to battle on in the idea of advancing our nation and its citizens. It is what we wear, and how we fashion ourselves. It is beyond adornment.

Why these heritage sites?
Visiting these spaces undoubtedly contributes to an understanding of the depth and symbolism of these sites. Helena Isaac draws on a sense of regal power. “We are each royalty, and we are free to shine the light of conquering spirit.”

Questions about self and fashion, though they may not be deemed pertinent to every reader, are implicit in the conversations that have especially been fueled by COVID-19. And so, in spreading awareness especially on this Emancipation weekend through fashion, Helena Isaac Fashion Road Trip chimes in with a perspective on the complexity of the St. Lucian psyche. On this trip, there is a reclaiming of our ancestry!

“We believe only by knowing our origins, can we truly understand our destination.” 


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