7 min read
Ch'An 7 with 7

At age 29, André DeCarlo Layne better known as Dré Decarlo is a fashion hero to many. For years, he has been writing, interviewing, and pushing the names of regional supermodels like Lene Hall, and Jeneil Williams as he proudly claims the title of Barbados’ first fashion blogger. As his love for fashion and helping others grew, it compelled him to venture abroad and whether it be visual merchandising for Ralph Lauren, interviewing other fashion hotshots like Beth Sobol, Elodie Passelaigue, and Hilary Rowland, or even assistant styling for Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model, Dré has made his mark and has proven to be a well-respected blogger, stylist, and inspiration to many in the world of international fashion. Today, we’re pleased to have him be vulnerable and share some insight on his fashion journey, the local scene, and the way forward for the industry.

1) When did you start blogging in Barbados?

“In 2008. I was about 17, turning 18 at the time. I think my first interview was with Leah Marville. She was a Bajan top model killing it in South Africa. My first show review was ‘Funk n Fabric’ by Trevor Pretty, a fundraising fashion show for local models seeking opportunities in Toronto, Canada. That’s where I met supermodel Stacey McKenzie. I would never forget that night. A talk with her really reassured me I was doing the right thing.”

2) Why Fashion?

“Fashion was always something that lit a fire in me. It was fascinating as well as comforting. I wasn’t very popular, trendy nor good-looking at school. I was very skinny, I was bullied a lot and I had zero confidence. Fashion allowed me to aspire to be greater, improve myself, and dream of a world where I could be embraced for who I am. Fashion serves as a great defense mechanism when self-esteem is something you struggle with. I actually originally wanted to become a model but after discovering I wasn’t tall enough and getting a glimpse of the dark side of the industry, I realized there were other facets of the industry to tap into. I could make a real impact and help lift people’s light up. I was a natural connector wherever I went, whether with the models, backstage crew, or the arts community in attendance. I’m not naturally the social butterfly I morphed into but it proved to be an asset so I pretty much just taught myself to be that way & it stuck.”

3) Did you always have a thing for being consciously stylish?

“No. You see, style is all about expressing who you are. There was a time I had no idea what that was, and if I was comfortable showing that.”

4) How would you define or describe your style?

“Depends on the day, and budget tbh… haha. But though I can be quite minimalist and relaxed at times, I’m a vintage afro-boho guy to the core, with a modern twist.”

5) How wild should we get with our fashion ideas?

“Fashion has rules. Style doesn’t. You choose.”

6) Should persons put in the effort to slay at local art/fashion events?

“I think they should express themselves. Whatever that may be. That’s what the space is all about, and that’s what they’re going there to see! But keep it fun and inspiring for each other, not catty and competitive. That creates a counterproductive environment and fuels the wrong attitude.”

7) What core differences would you like to see in the fashion industry?

“Internationally, I’d love to see more sustainability. I recently gained a certificate in Fashion & Sustainability from the London College of Fashion during the lockdown, and the things I learned in terms of environmental & social impacts of the industry were quite stressing. Like did you know it takes 2700 litres of water to grow enough cotton that makes ONE T-SHIRT? That’s enough drinking water for one person for THREE YEARS. Fast fashion is depleting our planet’s natural resources, while those at the top are creating even more disproportionate economic divides. Some even provide depressive & horrible working conditions with unfair compensation. We need to take care of the planet and each other a hell of a lot better. Also, less cultural appropriation, stereotyping and racial discrimination.”
“Locally, we need to come together more. I see more of that now than before, but that’s always been the main issue before we even start tackling issues like investment, corruption, and the matter of being taken seriously. The classist nepotistic ‘cliquism’ needs to stop. There should be enough to go around but there isn’t. Walls are put up for others and the same people get the top-paying jobs/chances over and over. There will never be a full-fledged industry if a handful of people from a handful of people are the only ones flourishing or growing. Everyone must have, in order to build. There isn’t enough of us to be competing. We are stronger together.”

Always live your truth, be aware and communicate effectively. It’s imperative to remember, grace and authenticity will get you places hustling cannot.

Dré DeCarlo

Fashion Blogger, Stylist

Can you relate to Dré? Comment and tell us below.

.

Ch'An 7 with 7

A little about “Dré”

At age 29, André DeCarlo Layne better known as Dré Decarlo is a fashion hero to many. For years, he has been writing, interviewing, and pushing the names of regional supermodels like Lene Hall, and Jeneil Williams as he proudly claims the title of Barbados’ first fashion blogger. As his love for fashion and helping others grew, it compelled him to venture abroad and whether it be visual merchandising for Ralph Lauren, interviewing other fashion hotshots like Beth Sobol, Elodie Passelaigue, and Hilary Rowland, or even assistant styling for Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model, Dré has made his mark and has proven to be a well-respected blogger, stylist, and inspiration to many in the world of international fashion. Today, we’re pleased to have him be vulnerable and share some insight on his fashion journey, the local scene, and the way forward for the industry.

1) When did you start blogging in Barbados?

“In 2008. I was about 17, turning 18 at the time. I think my first interview was with Leah Marville. She was a Bajan top model killing it in South Africa. My first show review was ‘Funk n Fabric’ by Trevor Pretty, a fundraising fashion show for local models seeking opportunities in Toronto, Canada. That’s where I met supermodel Stacey McKenzie. I would never forget that night. A talk with her really reassured me I was doing the right thing.”

2) Why fashion?

“Fashion was always something that lit a fire in me. It was fascinating as well as comforting. I wasn’t very popular, trendy nor good-looking at school. I was very skinny, I was bullied a lot and I had zero confidence. Fashion allowed me to aspire to be greater, improve myself, and dream of a world where I could be embraced for who I am. Fashion serves as a great defense mechanism when self-esteem is something you struggle with. I actually originally wanted to become a model but after discovering I wasn’t tall enough and getting a glimpse of the dark side of the industry, I realized there were other facets of the industry to tap into. I could make a real impact and help lift people’s light up. I was a natural connector wherever I went, whether with the models, backstage crew, or the arts community in attendance. I’m not naturally the social butterfly I morphed into but it proved to be an asset so I pretty much just taught myself to be that way & it stuck.”

3) Did you always have a thing for being consciously stylish?

“No. You see, style is all about expressing who you are. There was a time I had no idea what that was, and if I was comfortable showing that.”

4) How would you define or describe your style?

“Depends on the day, and budget tbh… haha. But though I can be quite minimalist and relaxed at times, I’m a vintage afro-boho guy to the core, with a modern twist.”

5) How wild should we get with our fashion ideas?

“Fashion has rules. Style doesn’t. You choose.”

6) Should persons put in the effort to slay at local art/fashion events?

“I think they should express themselves. Whatever that may be. That’s what the space is all about, and that’s what they’re going there to see! But keep it fun and inspiring for each other, not catty and competitive. That creates a counterproductive environment and fuels the wrong attitude.”

7) What core differences would you like to see in the fashion industry?

“Internationally, I’d love to see more sustainability. I recently gained a certificate in Fashion & Sustainability from the London College of Fashion during the lockdown, and the things I learned in terms of environmental & social impacts of the industry were quite stressing. Like did you know it takes 2700 litres of water to grow enough cotton that makes ONE T-SHIRT? That’s enough drinking water for one person for THREE YEARS. Fast fashion is depleting our planet’s natural resources, while those at the top are creating even more disproportionate economic divides. Some even provide depressive & horrible working conditions with unfair compensation. We need to take care of the planet and each other a hell of a lot better. Also, less cultural appropriation, stereotyping and racial discrimination.”
“Locally, we need to come together more. I see more of that now than before, but that’s always been the main issue before we even start tackling issues like investment, corruption, and the matter of being taken seriously. The classist nepotistic ‘cliquism’ needs to stop. There should be enough to go around but there isn’t. Walls are put up for others and the same people get the top-paying jobs/chances over and over. There will never be a full-fledged industry if a handful of people from a handful of people are the only ones flourishing or growing. Everyone must have, in order to build. There isn’t enough of us to be competing. We are stronger together.”

Always live your truth, be aware and communicate effectively. It’s imperative to remember, grace and authenticity will get you places hustling cannot.

Dré DeCarlo

Fashion Blogger, Stylist

Can you relate to Dré? Comment and tell us below.

Ch'An 7 with 7
%d bloggers like this: