Exclusive Lounge Chit-Chat with Afiya Bishop

Afiya Bishop, designer of LOUD
We caught up with Afiya Bishop, the young and talented Caribbean lady, who we know as the fashionable one, who has a great eye for fashion in every aspect. Afiya Bishop is the artistic and creative designer of jewellery pieces, she calls "LOUD".

QUICK FACT ABOUT AFIYA: She's not only an accessory designer but also a stylist.

What inspired you to start your own line? I was really wary of seeing women in the same accessories all the time and also going into stores which have a lot of the same jewellery. It was really hard to find anything unique, bold and chic and the few times that I did it was super expensive. 

Additionally after I started the University of Trinidad and Tobago to study Fashion Management, I was introduced  to the idea of making accessories. A friend of mine also encouraged me to start jewellery making (for her own selfish reasons) and she took me to a store where I could have gotten supplies; that same day I bought some feathers, chains and other findings. Literally by hand (I had none of the tools that one would use to make jewellery) I constructed two pairs of earrings that night, an ear-lace and the other a long feathered earring, the following day I showed my friend who took me to the jewellery supply store, she fell in love with both earrings immediately and wanted one of each for herself. Soon after my mom bought me a jewellery making tool set and from then I started designing and making accessories. I would go out wearing them and random people both men and women would compliment my jewellery and ask where I got them, when I replied I made them myself they asked how much it cost, if and where I sell them, if I had a business card, where can they see more of my work, this and the encouragement from my friends and mother pushed me to become a jewellery designer and to open my business Loud by Afiya which is also a styling company.

Afiya Bishop, struts her stuff on the catwalk with Romero Bryan 
How would you describe your accessory line? I would describe Loud by Afiya designs as being fashion forward, chic, loud, unique, bold and affordable. I strive to be different by not having the ordinary jewellery that can be found in stores while keeping my designs affordable; because I understand how it feels to find jewellery that’s unique which you absolutely love but can’t afford. One difference about my accessory line compared to others, is the designs. Even though it’s artistic and unique they are also chic and fashionable which makes it wearable and not too out there or crazy.

Have you ever thought about entering Project Accessory? If no, why not? I am self taught and believe before I enter Project Accessory there are a lot of things I would have to learn. On that show, you have to be able to make every type of accessory including shoes and bags. I make bags for myself and family members but I don’t think I am capable to produce the top quality that I will need to and I have no clue how to make shoes. So I’m not ruling out becoming a contestant on Project Accessory but I am just saying I have a lot to learn before I enter that competition.

What is your biggest achievement so far? My biggest achievement would be my collaboration with British Designer, Romero Bryan, whose designs have been worn by many celebrities such as Kelly Rowland  and Alicia Keys to name a few. At Tobago’s Fashion Weekend 2011, my jewellery were featured with his designs and he even allowed me to  the privilege of walking side by side with him down the runway which was AMAZING :)

What do you hope to change about the fashion industry in the Caribbean with your contribution of making accessories? Perhaps the awareness of local talent within the region, as well as the integration of resources. I would also like to see an increase in the availability of material for the craft.  I think I have opened up the minds of people in terms of introducing them to bold jewellery that they wouldn’t usually purchase or wear and being open to purchasing from a local or regional designer. I think I have also proved that the Caribbean has much more to offer than batik or tie dyed stuff and designers in the Caribbean can and are producing edgy fashionable top quality goods.

Any tips for ladies who over-accessorise? Styling your accessories is really easy. If you are wearing long earrings that pass your jaw you do not need to wear a necklace, if you are wearing a statement necklace you should wear small understated earrings e.g. stud earrings. I personally dislike seeing women with bangles on both hands so that’s a no-no for me. And my ultimate rule for the office with accessorising is, limit yourself to 5 pieces; earrings, a necklace,bangles (4 for the most in the office) or a watch, handbag and a ring.  
Afiya Bishop with British Designer, Romero Bryan at Tobago Fashion Week 
We hope you enjoyed our first "Exclusive Lounge Chit-Chat" feature with Afiya Bishop, view more of her pieces here 

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