Re­gional Fash­ion School opens its doors in St. Lucia

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Faye-Chantelle Mon­de­sir

“Dress shab­bily and they re­mem­ber the dress; dress im­pec­ca­bly and they re­mem­ber the woman… or man!” is a fa­mous quote by Coco Chanel.

Car­men Penco un­der­stands all too well what this means as well as the great value of cloth­ing, tex­tiles, shapes and pat­terns when it comes to unique Caribbean fash­ion and style. And with this in mind, she adds new mean­ing to de­sign, por­tray­ing and per­fectly rep­re­sent­ing through her craft, the fact that the hu­man body is in­deed a work of art.

Founder of the Col­lege of Pro­fes­sional Stud­ies and Fine Arts (CPSFA) in San Diego and with forty years ex­pe­ri­ence in the gar­ment in­dus­try, Car­men Penco - orig­i­nally from Guyana - has worked in Eng­land, the USA, Canada and the Caribbean. And now she is bring­ing her ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­per­tise to Saint Lucia with a brand new ven­ture. Penco is part­ner­ing with an equally en­thu­si­as­tic and fash­ion­ably driven Lyn Bris­tol and Erica Mc Vane both from Saint Lucia, to es­tab­lish the first cer­ti­fied fash­ion school within the Caribbean re­gion. Opened here in Oc­to­ber, the Car­men Penco School of Fash­ion Arts of­fers As­so­ciate De­grees in fash­ion and de­sign. It is lo­cated at Trouya, Bois D’or­ange, Gros Islet.

For Lyn Bris­tol who has been a lo­cal de­signer and event co-co­or­di­na­tor for many years in Saint Lucia, the school is truly a dream come true. She told the STAR; “What is new and dif­fer­ent about the Car­men Penco Fash­ion School, is that we of­fer a ser­vice which is un­con­ven­tional from the norm, or what is ac­cepted in Saint Lucia.” She went on to state that their aim is to ed­u­cate and al­ter the mind­set of fash­ion in Saint Lucia. “We also want to at­tract the fresh, younger gen­er­a­tion, in or­der to change the sta­tus quo of the fash­ion scene here,” Bris­tol says.

Erica Mc Vane, the youngest of the team, says she is ‘hon­oured to be work­ing with Penco’, who she sanc­tions as one of the best de­sign­ers from the re­gion. “The con­cept of the fash­ion school was iron­i­cally birthed through this in­nate pas­sion of mine, which could not re­main sup­pressed, but forced me to con­nect with Penco and share her vi­sion,” Mc Vane says. From there, the three be­gan to build and ar­du­ously toil to put things in place, to see their col­lec­tive de­sires be­come a re­al­ity. This was not void of ob­sta­cles how­ever, in­clud­ing the lack of fi­nan­cial and govern­men­tal sup­port for the ini­tia­tive. Ir­re­spec­tive of this set back, the en­ergy which fu­elled their dream con­tin­ued to pro­pel them for­ward, un­til they man­aged to seal up ev­ery­thing nec­es­sary to make the school el­i­gi­ble for busi­ness with the green light to be­gin oper­a­tions.

Col­lec­tively, the three fash­ion ty­coons aim to of­fer their stu­dents ex­cep­tional qual­ity, cou­pled with ex­ten­sive and mean­ing­ful ed­u­ca­tion. Th­ese highly mo­ti­vated key fash­ion-in­dus­try play­ers are de­ter­mined to suc­ceed above and be­yond all hav­ing the com­mon goal of offering top stan­dard ed­u­ca­tion and skill train­ing to their pro­tégées.

The Car­men Penco team is fo­cused on tak­ing Saint Lu­cian fash­ion and de­sign to the in­ter­na­tional stage as a rec­og­nized qual­ity brand.

At this point, an­other fa­mous fash­ion quote comes to mind; “Peo­ple will stare, but make it worth their while.” The Car­men Penco Fash­ion School is all geared up to teach fash­ion­ably cre­ative minds how to do just that make fash­ion all the more worth­while

Lyn Brys­tol and Car­men Penco, two-thirds of the team be­hind

new fash­ion school.

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