Growing up in the Caribbean, for many, meant getting hands-on by cultivating your own food or even sewing your own clothes. Such is the case of Bridget Ward, a New York City-based fashion designer making waves in her community and beyond. Ward, originally from the island nation, St Vincent and the Grenadines, credits her Caribbean roots for her current mastery in clothing design. She is proud to represent her country. Ward recalls her mother and grandmother being the original women behind the needlework that inspired her.
But, as Bridget puts it, she has always been “drawn to arts and crafts.” As a child herself, Bridget recalls making her very own dolls which she sold and came home with $100. Little did she know, that was the beginning of her true calling. After an invitation to the small boutique fashion week by a friend, Bridget found herself inspired like never before and telling her friend that this is what she wants to do. Throw-in the sewing machine her mother purchased for her, after noticing Bridget’s attraction toward creating different items, and her fashion line was in the fast track to stardom.
Designing was embedded in her bloodline, but Bridget needed connections to have her business idea fly off. After a friend gave her the information for one of the many conferences held by the New American Chamber of Commerce (NACC), Bridget attended and then further enrolled in
the small business courses offered by the Chamber.
As a member of the Chamber, she had the opportunity to meet another designer who ultimately became her mentor through the process. In what she calls a “domino effect,” Bridget remembers it all happening so quickly. Almost within a year’s span, Bridget went from being a NACC member, to being personally invited to participate in the New Day Associate’s 31st Annual National Designer of the Year competition by the Editor in Chief of Hype Hair magazine, John Blassingame.
This event would be the start of many more to come as Bridget not only won the contest, but a spread in Hype Hair magazine as well as a trip to Paris. Her triumph came from the use of unconventional materials, such as paper, which she tends to use because it brings out her “more creative side.” These materials have become a preference because they are easier to mend versus cloth which takes a while to sew.
Initially working with individuals with disabilities for sixteen years and having never touched a sewing machine until she was an adult with three children of her own, Bridget describes her experience so far as “out of this world.” At the West Indian Day Parade, held on Labor Day in Brooklyn, she had the chance to showcase more of her striking work. This time, she created pieces for the carnival-goers out of bubble wrap she spray painted gold.
Stated like a true fashion designer, Bridget wants to let people know that basically anything can be converted into something for you to wear. It just depends on how you perceive it, she lets on. However, some more typical materials do make it into her fashion line, like cotton and spandex. All in all, she knows that her pieces will get you the positive attention you desire. When it comes to performing the business aspect, she states “Definitely, network. Definitely. Put yourself out there.”
A very humble Bridget relays that not many people know her name yet, but she is working on becoming more popular in the fashion world. “Here I am and I’m trying to take it all in and see how far this journey is going to take me because I am very interested in what’s happening,”
As for now, Bridget designs custom pieces for her friends and family but is in the process of building her empire, so keep a look out for her website, soon to come. If you are interested in acquiring more information about her brand or just to take a gander at her distinct get-ups, feel free to follow her on Instagram @bsgartisticcreations_
Dana Mathura is a senior at Baruch College majoring in Communication Studies and minoring in Journalism, class of Spring 2019. Dana has written for the online publication Odyssey and is currently a News and Feature Writer for Caribbean American Weekly, as well as Workers World Today. Her work has been published both in print and online. Fascinated with journalism from a young age, she is an aspiring Broadcast News Analyst, hoping one day to write her own memoir. Dana’s interests include fashion, photography and film.