Unisex fashion brand Tribe Nine Studios making moves
On Sunday night, the Internet was buzzing when Grammy-nominated Jamaican singer Jesse Royal appeared in a mustard-and-white Tribe Nine Studios ensemble on the Grammy Awards red carpet.
“Everyone loving it,” Oraine-Williamson said in reaction to The Gleaner’s mention of the frenzy around the brand that is continuing to push the fashion envelope with its unisex pieces, colours, patterns and cuts that will definitely get your attention.
“The essence of the brand is to focus more on personal style,” Troy Oraine-Williamson, Tribe Nine Studios’ owner and creative director, explained to The Gleaner at his booth during the fifth annual Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival on Saturday at Devon House.
So, it is not about who should or should not wear the get-ups. It is about fashion and not following trends. It is fashion to “accentuate personal style”, so he’s not “genderising” clothes.
“I felt that fashion should just be fabric, a silhouette put together. Thus people can wear any colour, design and style,” he said, “I want to push that in Jamaica.”
Fashion for Oraine-Williamson doesn’t change one’s intrinsic values. “Whatever you evoke as a person, that’s what the clothes represent. You are wearing the clothes; the clothes [are] not wearing you. If you are a masculine guy in a long kimono, it should be a masculine guy in a long kimono,” he explained. “In essence, clothes do not change mannerisms. It’s about embodying the clothes and not focusing on what people think about you and the clothes. Wear whatever makes you happy,” he advised.
Thus, his message to Jamaica, where there is a big divide between men’s and women’s clothes, is “stop standing in your own way. Expression is expression. If you feel a certain way, just express it. Stop boxing people in. Look into the mirror and see who you are, and stop looking at other people. Express yourself. When whatever you are expressing is there, there is a Tribe Nine Piece for you.” The pieces include hats, caps, bags, shorts, T-shirts, long and short kimonos, shirts or blouses, and vest bags.
Oraine-Williamson got started in fashion by altering his clothes at a very young. His mother was a seamstress, so the opportunity was right there at home. He moved to New York about seven years ago, and that’s where the idea of doing fashion design full time germinated. He would wear clothes inspired by his personal style, and people loved them. “The brand was created to show appreciation for individual style,” he revealed.
Production started in Jamaica three years ago, and the business was incorporated last year. The name Tribe Nine is inspired by his “spiritual universe number 9”, a number which he said he “always saw growing up and identified with”. He did some research along the way and unearthed things about the number, “which solidified it even more”. He explained further, “That and my wanting to create a worldwide tribe. That’s why I welcome everyone to the tribe when a purchase is made. It belongs to something greater than me.”