Is Monday Wear Madness completely taking over the Carnival Experience in Trinbago?
It is an explosion of color. It is the scintillating music that make waist lines churn like butter.* It is the sprinkling of sweet steel-pan music as the masses chip** behind a truck. It is the mud and powder being smeared across unsuspecting victims as they dance through the streets in the wee hours of the morning. It is the ultimate feeling of self-expression and abandon. It is mas in Trinidad and Tobago!
Since the days of slavery when the slaves would mimic the masters masquerade balls with their own unique styles, Carnival has been continuously evolving and adding dimensions of creativity and expression. But somewhere along the line, the individuality and customization seemed to get replaced with mass production and commercialization, beads and bikinis, all-inclusives and exclusivity. The yearning for originality grew larger, while, distinctive offerings seemed to be on the decline.
Some savvy young entrepreneurs, surveyed the landscape, identified a need in the market and created a way to fill the gap. And just like that, the Monday Wear industry within Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival industry was born.
WHAT IS IT?
‘Monday Wear’ refers to the unique swimsuit designs offered by various Caribbean designers as an alternative to wearing a full Carnival costume on Monday. It is meant to give you options. Monday Wear gives patrons the option not to be as fully clothed on the more low key carnival celebration day. It gives the option to not dirty your beloved Carnival costume before wearing it in its full glory on Carnival Tuesday. It also gives the option to have a distinct look from the rest of the crowd. It started off as a very small industry. Tribes of friends would decide on a look for their ‘crew’ on Monday be it vests and ‘pom-pom’ shorts or the same colored swimsuits to identify each other in the bands. As mas designers started to see the need for alternative wear on Monday, they started providing tank tops and pair of shorts.
WHY SHOULD YOU CONSIDER IT?
Within recent years, Monday Wear has become less of a ‘nice to have’ and more of a pre-requisite to earn your stripes as a true Carnival baby. For those new to the whole Carnival experience, it may be perceived as a ‘must have’ to complete the ultimate experience.
On one side, it is great to see young entrepreneurs capitalizing on this new trend, flexing their creative muscles and owning an untapped market in a creative and business savvy way. On the flip side, it’s a bit cringe worthy to think that after spending over $600 US (average) on a traditional costume and over $600 US in fetes and parties, Carnival goers are now strongly encouraged to spend an additional $150 US + for this additional stamp of being a ‘bona fide Carnivalian.’
At the end of the day the choice is yours on if you decide to get Monday Wear or not. For me, my first experience has rendered me a convert. It just felt like it really completed my (very expensive) Carnival experience. If you’re looking for some Monday wear options check out websites like Trinidad Carnival Diary for some options, contact your designer and get the process going. If you have already entered the alternative universe of Monday Wear, vote below for your favorite Monday Wear designers and stay tuned for our Top 5 list voted on by YOU!.
HOW DO YOU CHOOSE A MONDAY WEAR DESIGNER?
There are a multitude of great designers within the Caribbean region…but there are a few questions to keep top of mind when deciding on a Monday Wear Designer:
- Do the designs complement my shape?
- Don’t let those fashion models fool you…one size definitely does not fit all. I loved the selection presented by Nadia Batson called Himaya that finally acknowledged that the Carnival population is not made of all size zero models.
- Does the designer offer timely follow up and great customer service?
- In the land that is not exactly known for the best customer service-this one will get more and more important as you venture to spend money to enhance your Carnival experience.
- Does the designer have a reliable payment system?
- Let’s just say have a paper trail for the money you spend…sometimes things just seem to disappear in the twilight zone sometimes and you can be left with no Monday Wear and hundreds dollars less if you don’t have a record of your payments. And please for my foreign crew remember this is not the US….having tantrums and threatening to call the authorities will get you nowhere..just saying ;]
- What options do clients not based on the island have for pick-up?
- For the uninitiated, the most annoying part of Carnival is standing in lines. Lines for fete tickets, lines for costumes, lines for drinks and the list goes on…and don’t forget some of the designers like to enjoy their Carnival experience too which means availability gets less the closer to the festival date. so do yourself a favor make sure to double check pick up dates and have a back up if you are not going to be there during those dates.
MISSION: To elevate the brand of Caribbean culture in the fields of MUSIC, BUSINESS and the ARTS by celebrating the work of cultural ambassadors while advocating for upcoming Caribbean talent1.