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Mac Farlane makes mas in India
Impressed with the work of T&T’s mas’ engineer Brian Mac Farlane, the SSM College of Engineering in India has invited him to establish a school of costume design there. Mac Farlane was invited to India by India’s High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago Malay Mishra to present a local piece of textile with some historical value at the Commonwealth Costume Design Exhibition last October. Mac Farlane was one of several designers displaying indigenous fabrics, traditional wear and costuming at the exhibition entitled “Power Cloths”.
The event was a prelude to the opening ceremony of the 19th Annual Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, showcasing garments worn by Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, statesman Jawaharlal Nehru and Queen Victoria. Mac Farlane highlighted the history of the Carnival character Pierrot, labelled “The Power of Celebration” by the Indians. He also displayed a splendid Blue Devil.
However, while the offer has peaked Mac Farlane’s interest, the four-time “Band of the Year” winner wants to discuss with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar the abundance of possibilities the school could bring to the country. “Our mas can be shown to India and by extension the world. It’s a way of marketing what we have,” said Mac Farlane, who spoke at his Rosalino Street, Woodbrook mas camp on Thursday.
‘I’m not promoting bikini mas’
If the prolific masman accepts the challenge, Mac Farlane said the first thing he intends to do was establish a curriculum and build a whole new approach starting from the beginning of our Carnival showing “how we have come to where we are now.” Mac Farlane said promoting bikini mas would not be on the cards, but rather bringing to the fore the essence of how the French and Africans brought their culture to these shores. “So once the student understands this, they will start the basis of building costumes made from fibre glass, wire bending, cloth and paper.”
Mac Farlane’s disclosure came days after Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley blasted the trip by Tourism Minister Dr Rupert Griffith and a contingent of 19 people to India, labelling it a waste of taxpayers’ money. No official release was issued by the Tourism Ministry regarding Griffith’s trip which unconfirmed reports are claiming cost $1 million. Mac Farlane admitted that since his return, he has been bombarded by e-mails from 500 students pursuing fashion design at the college, asking that he set up a school of costume design.
The college was one of several universities Mac Farlane lectured at and showed DVDs on T&T’s Carnival, the greatest show on earth. Footage of the DVDs showed masqueraders from his past bands chipping to the sounds of sweet music on the streets and how thousands of costumes were made from scratch. “This was different and refreshing to them. The creativity, flair, drama stimulated them. They were bowled over by what they saw,” said Mac Farlane.
Stating that it would be impossible to travel to and from India to teach, Mac Farlane said the work would have to be shared by other local masmen, thereby allowing everyone to get on board in the undertaking. Mac Farlane recommended that T&T could hammer out an arrangement where this country offers Carnival expertise in exchange for a textile and dye factory being established by the Indians to the benefit of the local fashion industry.
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