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Lead Designer: Renee Alves
Renee Alves is the lead designer and seamstress of fashion brand Resort Wear by SUGABRAT DESIGNS. Born in the island Republic of Trinidad & Tobago in the Caribbean, where she currently resides, and developes her designs, all handmade with love!
Her garments are both ready to wear and custom made with the occasional beading and trims to add that extra touch! Her designs are flexible to wear at the beach, resort, holiday locations, casual events, parties, the office or at home.
Born in the Caribbean island Republic of Trinidad & Tobago. Renee Alves always loved being surrounded by Arts, Music and Fashion and has always had that Bohemian spirit and style. She loves to find ways to combine all of her passions into one, and it shows in her designs!
She loves connecting with like-minded talented artisans, designers and artisans and giving support. She's not one to think of competition, but loves to find ways to work together!
Her brand, Sugabrat Designs, was influenced from her college days at Art Institute of Ft Lauderdale when she used to spend most of her late nights working in the school labs where she worked hours on assignments and would visit the candy store to get her sugar fix to keep her going through the long hours to complete her projects. That nickname stuck with her through her friends, and even with her involvement in event promotions it became popular.
She loved Fashion since she was a child, but ended up studying Graphic Design in college, but somehow found herself drawn to Fashion more! Having skills in Illustration, Colour Design, Fabric Painting, Digital Imaging, Logo Design and Drawing & Perspective served well in order for her to try to include in her next move... Once she switched careers it was all moving forward, since she loved being behind the sewing machine! She recalls this as the best decision she ever made since it's not just something she loves, but grateful of the doors it's opened!
After years of working with Trinidad Carnival/Resort Wear Designer Sonia Mac (La Casbah) who she enjoyed working with constructing carnival costumes by hand - she expressed that she wanted to learn how to sew her own designs. Sonia recommended Designer: Anna White, of Anna White L'image Beyond Design T&T where she learned how to sew her first basic stitches and learned pattern design and had her first experience with working with chiffon, which is the fabric she hoped to include in most of her resort wear. She picked up sewing very quickly and felt comfortable sewing with it from the start. Upon completing the short course, it opened up her curiosity to learn more of her new skill and did more research so she could teach herself more on how to construct different garments and work with different fine fabrics.
Coming from a family of all women seamstresses starting with her grandmother Carmelita, and all her Aunt's on the Alves side of the family made it easier for her to pick up her new skill of sewing. Sewing was already in her blood which somehow felt like the right thing to do. She named her first Kimono design, La Carmelita Bonita Rose (which is available in store) after her grandmother who also loved floral patterns, as a way to say thanks for the skill she inherited!
She is known to include beautiful trimmings and edgings into her designs, in which her talented mother Antoinette Alves (RIP) and co-manager on SUGABRAT Designs - collaborated with her to add a special touch of hand sewn beading and added the buttons which enhanced each garment in a special way! Her mom sadly passed away in September 2020, so that brought immediate changes and tough challenges into her life and her brand since they worked together on everything. Renee plans to continue the work that they did together going, that her mother was so proud and supportive of!
Kimonos became her favourite thing to design, since it's flexible to be worn with anything and for anywhere - not just for the beach! She's a regular at popular markets: Upmarket, The Fashion Arch with Fashion Advisor Ain Earle and Planting Seeds. She ended up launching her brand at a booth at Vujaday Music Festival, Barbados after working promotions on the Trinidad marketing team. That's where she found her niche of designing festival, lounge wear, and resort wear more appealing and fun since she could be around music! She brought that back home to Trinidad, so she could design more for Carnival events for those looking for that perfect outfit to wear at parties or those heading to Tobago, DDI or around the beautiful beaches of sweet T&T!
During the lockdown of 2020, she switched her gears to adapt to the changes to creating designs that would be more suitable to wear at home, and for that first day on the beach once it's time! It was all thanks to FashionTT VCIP Business Advisory program and the many weekly webinars online that she was able to pivot through along with an amazing team of local designers and mentors. She used those tools provided during those times, and started building a stronger foundation for her fashion business that would be more convenient and encourage a safer platform for her clients to be able to shop, book zoom meetings for custom design from anywhere in the world!
With COVID in mind, she wants to hear that her Kimonos were worn during an important Zoom meeting when you had little time to get dressed out of a simple tights and tank top - all you need to do is throw on a kimono, do your makeup and you’ve changed your look! Getting dressed up in our favorite outfit changes our moods during a confusing time generally can uplift or boost one’s confidence to handle anything. She wants to know that you wore a SUGABRATdesigns Kimono on your first day at the beach once restrictions are less.
All her garments are washed and steam cleaned before packaging and shipping, so you know you're getting something made with special care!
Hope you enjoy shopping with SUGABRAT Designs!
Just know there's more to come since she’s addicted to doing new things with her designs! Her mission is for this to become a personal fashion and shopping experience that you will enjoy at your convenience!