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Catholic fashion designer is UTT’s Student of the Year

By Klysha Best

There is nothing that beats the feeling of being awarded or recognised for your hard work, whether it be for a job well done at the office or getting good grades in school.

That euphoria is what Cornelius Hector felt, when he graduated with distinction and was awarded Student of the Year by the University of Trinidad and Tobago’s Caribbean Academy of Fashion Design in the Bachelor in Fine Arts in Fashion Design programme.

Hailing originally from the borough of Point Fortin before moving into the Port of Spain area, Hector, or ‘Hex’ as he is called by his friends, said his introduction to fashion was by default.

“While many others have grand stories of learning to sew from their granny, I stumbled upon fashion during my early 20s seeking to discover more about myself and being inspired yearly by the creators of mas and other community cultural spaces.”

Prior to jumping into the field of fashion, Hector got his feet wet within media after being given a chance by Reagan Des Vignes, Errol Fabien, and Christopher Laird at Gayelle the channel, a popular local television network in the early 2000s, where he developed both practical and technological knowledge in the field of television production.

“While I acted on camera, I was able to become a producer for several local shows and direct many live programming featured on air over the course of five years,” said Hector.

“In 2015, I received the life-changing opportunity to live and work in Ecuador as a News Producer/Editor for the Latin-American media network Tele SUR English, with their mandate to be an alternative perspective on world news. I also did freelance work with CNC3 and became a journalist, writer, and graphic artist for IzzSo Media Limited.”

Hector said he truly loves creating and being in creative environments.

“In 2017, I was hired by Marlon George, CEO/Managing Director, and designer behind DAWW Creations Limited, to come in to assist with the restructuring and improvement of his brand. At first, I was hesitant, but as soon as Marlon allowed me creative and structural freedom, I began to lead the transformation of the brand to what it is known as today, one of T&T’s premiere menswear brands.”

Hector is currently the Creative Director, Designer, and Operations Manager at DAWW Creations Limited. He said while working for DAWW he was already enrolled at UTT, but the practical knowledge of the local fashion industry gave him a critical edge in his studies for the BFA in Fashion Design.

Hector said: “Like all other degrees and academic pursuits, the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design at the University of Trinidad and Tobago is an intense but rewarding experience. The degree’s coursework and educational structure has been patterned by the world’s top design schools such as the Parsons School of Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology. Thus, education is sound, the lecturers are experts in their fields and the technical work prepares students to become entrepreneurial creatives.”

He continued: “I’m thankful that such an institute exists in the Caribbean, more particularly in Trinidad and Tobago. It has made all graduates fully competent to work internationally in all areas of fashion and business.”

Hector said: “Recently graduating with distinction and becoming UTT’s Student of the Year has been a remarkable experience. During my time at the Caribbean Academy of Fashion Design, I always strived to put my best foot forward with all the coursework, assignments, and electives, so I believed I had what it takes to successfully win the title. The accolade comes with a sense of responsibility, but I am more than happy to carry it with pride.”

So, what now for Hector?

“My future plans are to increase my academic qualifications by obtaining a scholarship for a business/marketing Master’s degree and maybe a doctorate, as I do enjoy the business aspect of fashion. Also, I aspire to travel, teach and network with global industry brands, as I’ve been blessed to have worked with international designer FeNoel in 2022.” Additionally, Hector said he intends to become a creative partner/designer for other fashion brands such as Orange Culture, Tom Ford, Thebe Magugu, Fenty by Rihanna, Adidas, and Loza Maleombho, to name a few.

The sky is not the limit for this young man, who said he also aspires to produce fashion/cultural documentaries and contribute to an improved fashion industry in the Caribbean diaspora.