by Dominique Lescott
St Kitts Nevis (WINN): British-Nevisian Chantal Miller founder of Island Girls Rock – a non-profit initiative celebrating women and girls of Caribbean heritage is expected to extend the sustainable apparel brand ‘IGR Gear’ to St. Kitts and Nevis in 2022.
Miller founded Island Girls Rock in 2016, in London, as a non-profit initiative celebrating girls and women of Caribbean heritage. Miller uses the brand to show that the Caribbean is not a monolith, and “aims to build diasporic collaborations, thriving ecosystems and networks and provide mentorship and inspiration through immersive events, workshops and meet ups.”The brand is “dedicated to supporting and showcasing Caribbean culture through fostering cultural connections and championing collaborative opportunities between women of the Caribbean and its diaspora,” said Miller.
IGR Gear embraces the practices of slow fashion which utilises sustainable materials for its products and packaging. “We very intentionally decided that our merchandise had to be slow and sustainable fashion and so anything that we use in connection to IGR Gear is really eco-friendly.
“The mailout envelopes we use are made from plants and not plastic, they’re 100% biodegradable. “Our jumpers and t-shirts are made from 100% sustainably farmed cotton and even our stickers that we use on our packaging are all made from recycled paper.” Miller said.
As well as sustainability, Miller also supports group economics and said, “We use only small businesses for all of our supplies and material”.
After moving to Nevis aged 11 from the UK, Miller relocated to the UK where she has developed her career as a filmmaker and broadcast journalist with a passion for social and creative entrepreneurship.
Through 100% organic cotton t-shirts, tank tops and recycled labels, the Island Girls Rock brand is enhancing its sustainable footprint and extending to St. Kitts and Nevis next year, whilst empowering “Caribbean women to share their stories and experiences in spaces created expressly for them whilst nurturing and encouraging pride in their unique talents and perspectives”. Through her work, Miller was nominated for the Precious Awards and the BATON Awards for her work with Island Girls Rock.
Miller recently hosted a luxury afternoon tea event where all proceeds from the event were donated to both Guy’s Cancer and Pink Lily Cancer Care based in Nevis. Pink Lily Cancer Care supports women to find the products and services they will need to maintain their sense of beauty and well-being while living with cancer. In 2019 Lea Paris Cambridge, the founder of Pink Lily Cancer Care, lost her battle to cancer, however, the charity continues to do work to support women battling the disease.
Sustainability in the Federation is on the rise, with the Nevis Tourism Authority recently collaborating with Canadian based fashion designer Stacy Martin. Martin launched black-owned eco-conscious lex-loungewear brand Stacey Martin Lifestyle, which “honours her cultural background and love for the island [of St. Kitts and Nevis] through her brand” and micro famer Jahreem Encarnacion growing sustainably sourced mushrooms.
IGR Gear will be available in St. Kitts and Nevis in 2022 and Miller plans to host pop up shops to promote the brand in the Federation.