in 1914, Douglas' career in fashion started at the tender age of 15
when she traded in her mother's hand stitcher for an electric Singer
sewing machine. And though her mother had chastised her about her
decision, it was her mother's words that still linger in her memory
even today that became a pivotal force which pushed her to an
exciting career in the world of Caribbean fashion.
knew she would have to find a way to pay off for the new electric
sewing machine she had been brave enough to buy. Growing up in St
Augustine, Douglas welcomed anyone in the area that came to her to
have their dresses made.
At 18, Douglas attended the Trap
Hagen School of Design in New York. She stayed in the city with her
sister who resided there and worked in the day sewing buttons on
bridal gowns and went to school at night. After working and studying
on a double shift arrangement, Douglas became very ill and had to be
sent home after a five week stay in the hospital. During the
hospital confinement Douglas' beautiful dark hair turned absolutely
It was a shock to Douglas's mother when she returned
home at the age of 20 with white hair. Douglas quickly realised that
her new hair colour was making a statement and decided to leave it
like that. She went straight back to dressmaking using the new
skills she had acquired in New York. Her business started to thrive
when an Italian man by the name Antonio Costello saw her work and
decided to take her and another seamstress, Mimi Dorci, to Italy to
do a fashion show there.
On her return, Douglas opened her
new shop "Dorci's" on Frederick Street in Port of Spain.
of the most memorable moments in Douglas's career came in 1965 when
South African singer Miriam Makeba came to Trinidad and visited her
shop. Expressing her love for her clothing, Makeba invited Douglas
to come to New Jersey, where she lived, to make an entire wardrobe
for her. She went. Designing approximately 60 to 70 outfits in three
months, Douglas and Makeba became good friends.
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