Trishelle Leacock’s swimsuits arrive in international fashion magazines

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Trishelle Leacock devotes herself completely to her passion and makes sure that others notice it. The 26-year-old former national track and field athlete turned fashion designer and entrepreneur has renamed her fashion line Reign to Kaiso. Swim and was recently featured in Marie Claire’s Top 40 Swimwear Brands for Summer 2022 and Essence’s Emerging Black Women’s Fashion Designers.

For Essence, Leacock took his destiny into his own hands by reaching out to the magazine to introduce him to his brand.

“I strongly believe that nothing in this life will be handed to us, so we have to find ways to go out and get it. It was that mindset that drove me to make those genuine connections,” she recently told the Sunday Guardian.

It paid off as the Scarborough native’s talent was recognized by Essence, and she was highlighted in an April 1st article alongside rising black fashion designers to know.

A composite of Kaiso styles.  Bathing flora and fauna.

A composite of Kaiso styles. Bathing flora and fauna.

Kaiso of Leacock. The Swim brand pays homage to the vibrancy and appeal of its island heritage and expresses its vision of cultural continuity through storytelling and innovation. In the word “kaiso,” ka means “to go” and iso is interpreted as “forward,” she explained, so she hopes to reflect her brand’s ongoing evolution and innovation.

Incorporating bold prints, clean lines and high quality materials, Leacock aims to make each swimsuit “the perfect combination of luxury and comfort” while complementing the body.

A former national sprinter who represented T&T as part of the 4x100m relay team at the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships, Leacock started track at 16 and received a partial scholarship to the University of Miami two years later. She did, however, admit that she has always had an affinity for fashion and a deep love for swimwear.

The University of Miami advertising and marketing graduate made the leap from the runway into the fashion world in July 2018 during her final semester of college and founded her swimwear brand which she has first launched as Reign, special.

With her first Trouble collection, the self-taught designer encountered some teething problems and also felt a strong disconnect between the name “Reign” and her vision for the brand. Determined to learn more about the fashion industry, she continued her research and relaunched as Kaiso. Swim last year. It was all part of the course, Leacock felt as she became a designer on a mission, with her third Flora & Fauna collection winning nods on the international stage.

Pursuing her goals is nothing new for Leacock who also competed in the Miss World TT 2020 pageant. She said she was influenced by her family’s long line of talented people. Her father George and her mother Carol are the owners of Radio Tambrin in Tobago, her older sisters, Nicolette and Yolande are former national tennis players, and her grandfather George carved stones, made signs and had a museum at him, while his other grandfather Alfred was a painter.

Always ready for new opportunities, Leacock has an AMC show appearance in the works and might even have a men’s collection up his sleeves.

Q&A with Trishelle Leacock

1. You were recently featured in Marie Claire’s Top 40 Swimwear Brands for Summer 2022 and in Essence’s list of emerging fashion designers for black women you should know. Please tell me, what does it feel like to be highlighted, and what do you think these accolades mean for Caribbean women?

It was all very surreal. I worked for months on brand elevation by simply researching and learning from other brands in and outside of the fashion industry. The name change to Kaiso. Swimming came at the right time because it now allows me to give subtle hints of where I’m from, describe what we have to offer and show Trinidad and Tobago in a positive light.

I really think it shows Caribbean women that we are capable and have a lot of talent, so I hope it gives other women the courage to step out of their comfort zone and pursue their dreams. I’ve had this brand for about four years and I’m only starting to gain momentum, so just note that it takes time.

2. Tell me about Kaiso. Bathing. I’ve read that it reflects the Caribbean aesthetic, with bold prints and clean shapes that flatter the body. What type of women are you targeting?

I believe I cater to women who aren’t afraid to make a statement through their choice of clothing. They are shameless themselves in their words and in the way they choose to behave. They are bold and adventurous!

3. Looking back on your personal journey, what sparked your interest in athletics?

I believe my interest in athletics began with my level of physical activity as a child and raised by parents who were both very athletic in their youth. I’ve always loved running, playing tennis and trying any other sport I could. I knew I had a bit of talent in athletics, so in high school I decided to pursue the track to see where it would take me and also to not have any “what if” questions. My parents and grandmother definitely positively influenced me to pursue this. They always pushed me to try new things, so I wasn’t afraid to put in a solid athletic effort.

4. Would you like to think something about getting the partial scholarship to the University of Miami at the age of 18?

I think the first thing getting the scholarship showed me was that once I set out to achieve something and create a roadmap to achieve the goals I set for myself , it is possible with God’s guidance and firm faith in His plan.

5. How did you go from sprint to fashion design? Is it something that has always interested you?

I was always interested in swimsuits growing up and did little sketches, but nothing serious. It was only natural for me to play sports and not really see fashion as something to pursue because I didn’t have the basic knowledge. When I went to the University of Miami I decided to major in advertising with a minor in marketing and in my advertising classes I was able to learn how to draw but not for fashion, more for graphics. I then used the skills I learned in those graphic design classes to design the first swimsuit that I launched with the help of a graphic designer from Tobago – Terrel George – who made the elements of the design. ‘printed. I think the main influence came from all my experiences and my love for swimwear which came to the fore at a critical time in my life. I was dealing with a lot of track injuries and I knew it was time to pursue this dream that I had quietly had before graduating and entering the working world.

6. Please share any memories of your roots in Tobago that may have influenced your talent or creations.

So many influences…but growing up in Scarborough, my mother and also the bond I have with my grandmother which ignited my love for hearing a good story and learning about different cultures, places and people across the world. Also, the trips I would take around Tobago when I was in elementary school allowed me to see so much of Tobago at a young age. My late grandparents, Alfred James and George Leacock Sr, were also a big influence on me as they were both designers in their own right.

7. As a child, what career did you dream of?

I don’t think I knew exactly what I wanted to be, but I knew whatever I did had to be something that made people happy or felt good!

8. What qualities do you bring from runway to fashion design?

Certainly the ability to surpass myself, to get out of my comfort zone and not be too afraid of failure. In athletics, you need a high level of discipline, focus and passion for the sport. For the most part, I was able to transfer these qualities into my work and how I approach sharing the brand with people.

9. Are there any strengths and/or adversities that you have encountered along the way that you are able to share?

I think the highlights would be the latest features and the rebranding that allows me to say a lot more about each collection. A new level of creativity has definitely been unlocked. I think at some point I lost touch with what I wanted to say with the brand, especially coming out of the first collection. A lot of doubts crept in and I wasn’t sure I would be able to create more pieces of the same standard and pieces that turned heads, but with a lot of mental growth I was able to reconnect with my side creative .

10. Do you have anything else to say about chasing his dreams?

Just trust God and pursue your passion. You will face ups and downs, but it’s all part of the test you have to share when it’s time to share your testimony. At that time, you may be able to inspire the person coming up behind you.

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