We're are pleased to introduce Fashion Designer, Shaun Griffith Perez. Shaun started in a small village fashion school in Trinidad. With over 26 years experience, Shaun has also built up his fashion design company. Gaining prominence as one of Trinidad and Tobago’s foremost fashion designers. His work has received many awards across the Caribbean and the USA.
How do you define creativity and what does it mean to you?
I define creativity as a taught, feelings, an experience that invokes inspiration because one of the most daunting aspects of creativity is facing a blank page.
How much of your creative ability do you think is innate? Or is your creativity a skill that you have developed?
My creative ability is one hundred percent innate, it is a gift from God and as I use it grows more and more as time passes.
When did you realise that you wanted to express your creativity? Was it encouraged by others (e.g., parents)?
Passion and love were my encouragement.
Mostly every day I visited a family friend Grace Duncan, one of our top seamstresses at her house, I watched her develop beautiful clothing, going through all her magazines and conversing on fashion. Eventually, I enrolled in her fashion school where I learnt pattern drafting and garment construction, the rest, as they say, was history.
What is your standard for evaluating your creative work and the works of other people? Do you think that monetary rewards can be compatible with creativity in general? Are financial rewards relevant to your projects?
That word Standard is very imperative it's the key to your product or brand's survival. Practising standards in your product can yield rewards, may it be by sales or elevation. It's also nice to receive Awards, may it be monetary or non-monetary. When I received my award in Washington along with other Caribbean designers, it was very humbling and a great opportunity to see other fashion brands awarded for their Creativity.
Do you think your perception and evaluation of your creative endeavours are influenced by the views of other people? What role do you believe the culture that you live in plays in your creative efforts?
I think yes, people's views and evaluation is part of your growth. They are the critics, the buyers, etc. who would work with your creativity. So you learn as you progress, it has helped me to achieve what I've set out to do.
Regarding culture, it's a very powerful influence on creativity. The diversity of our country is core to my products.
What do you do when you experience a creative block?
When I encounter a creative block, I look to my country and its many places and people. I may visit the mall, see a movie or go to a restaurant; I love to eat. I read my books and magazines, and if those things don't work, I meditate and focus on God.
How do you make the leap from a "Spark" in your head to the action you produce?
The moment a concept hits me, I build interaction with it, then I put in the formal training.
Do you have any special rituals that you do to achieve your creative goals?
Yes, I pray a lot. I LOVE GOD it's where our strength lies.
Stylistically, has your creativity changed as you have matured? If it has changed, please explain how?
There will always change when we mature, but in creativity, it's a moment that is created, captured and builds history and used stylistically.
What has been the greatest sacrifice that you have made for your craft?
Opening my studio and then realised I was not business minded, I thought my brand would have done it all. It was a sad time.
Who or what has helped you to persevere and not quit?
My Aunt. One day I went to her home and said, I've lost everything, I have nothing. She looked at me with love and told me you have your Aunt, and from that day my aunt Mrs Hermie Hinds and her family have and still supports me. I love them so much, together with God and my parents.
Do you believe that it is important to be accepted by others as being creative or is just doing what you love to do enough to justify your work? Explain.
Yes, I do believe it helps your process and growth. However, a significant percentage of the love you put into your creation shows your intention. Your work is you.
Has rejection ever affected your creative process? Explain.
A bit, you see life is a process, and you interact with humans. Realising what I have to work with, I try not to let rejection derail my process.
Looking at what you have created in the past, would you change anything today? Why or why not?
I will not change my ascetic but will change how I use it. Remember it's the business of fashion not the fashion of business.
Have you ever doubted your talent? If so, how did you work through your doubt?
My dream was to work with one of our Fashion houses. Because I was looking for direction and during that time I doubted my talent. I thought to myself if I develop my brand, one of the fashion houses would take notice of me, so that's what I did.
One day I interacted with one Designer, and the person said to me "you are not a designer". I was devastated and began to question myself. Walking away feeling sad, I prayed God take away this feeling. As I finished, I felt guided to the library in Port of Spain and came across a book on fashion and design. As I opened it, the first three pages stated, to be a fashion designer you must be able to show what is in your mind by sketching. It also outlined other needed skills. Realising I could do the things I read, all doubt left.
What piece of work are you most proud? Why?
When I made the Evening gown for Miss Trinidad and Tobago, Ms Sherrece Vilafana for the Miss World 2013. The dress I designed received the credit as the second best evening gown.
What is the best advice you've received that helped you move forward on your creative journey?
"Work at what you believe in, it may be rough or smooth", my Aunt Hermie Hinds.
To a young Creative emerging in your field, what advice would you impart unto them?
Be business inclined or have a team to help you if you are not. One person, I admire who practices the business of Fashion is the House label of Mr Ecliff Elie.
For what would you like to be most remembered?
For my contribution to Caribbean Fashion.
If you were a crayon, what would be the name of your colour?
Caribbean - All colours in one drawn shade.