Appeal for venue to store and build Carnival costumes

Douglas wants a permanent place for building and storing Carnival costumes
Douglas wants a permanent place for building and storing Carnival costumes

A retiring Carnival costume builder here is making an appeal for a permanent venue for building costumes and eventually storing them after the Carnival season is over.

Clarence Douglas has been building and designing costumes for over four decades and he told Dominica News Online that over the years builders have been moving from one place to the next in order to work on their craft.

“I mean it’s a frustration,” he said. “Like I said we going here, we going there, it doesn’t make any sense.”

Douglas has been building costumes at the Windsor Park Sports Stadium for four years now and thinks a permanent home for building and storing them makes sense.

“At first everybody have been talking about a place to store the costumes, but what I normally say I have nothing wrong with it, but if I don’t have a place to build it, how can I have a place to store it?” he reasoned.

Douglas recounts one particular year when costumes were stored at Wood Bridge Bay and he lamented that it would have been better off if they were destroyed, since they stayed about an entire year collecting dust and had to eventually be dismounted.

He mentioned that over the years proposals were made to use an area in Silver Lake but no one looked into the matter seriously.

Douglas envisions a venue where costumes are not only built and stored, but where workshops are held to teach others about the craft.

“I would love to see that I could come back and teach children how to bend wire, how to decorate a costume,” he noted. “But it’s like you work for nothing and you leave with nothing.”

He also believes that costume builders in Dominica are not getting the recognition and respect that they deserve.

He stated that it is only during Carnival the names of costume builders are called but “after that, who are you?”

Douglas is also making a case for an increase in the cost of producing a costume from $5,000 to $6,500-$7,000.

He said builders devote up to one month to construct a costume and the cost of materials are increasing every year.

Additionally, hired help is necessary to assist in building the costumes.

The veteran is urging the Dominica Festivals Committee (DFC) to consult with builders on the prices because, according to him, year after year it is assumed that $5,000 for a costume is sufficient.

“It is an insult,” Douglas said.

He said he is calling it quits since he is suffering from arthritis and blood clots in the legs.

Douglas at work on one of his creations
Douglas at work on one of his creations

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22 Comments

  1. January 29, 2015

    this is a good idea i think, because it could be used as a museum and a tourist attraction site.

  2. forreal
    January 29, 2015

    i thought raffoul had brought this idea up last year,am I wrong,or was in reference to something else

  3. January 29, 2015

    Trinidad & Tobago bring their carnival costumes to Toronto Canada for Caribana festival during the summer and we love them they are beautiful just think if we could get some of the Dominican s costumes to Toronto that would be wonderful.

  4. Marguerite
    January 29, 2015

    I visited the area in New Orleans where the Mardi gras costumes are made and stored. We went there in Dec-Jan and it was a beautiful site.

  5. Doc. Love
    January 29, 2015

    Apparently, Mr. Douglas did not hear Hon Lennox Linton during the election campaign when he said he would turn the President’s Palace into a museum. He said, then, among the many things that would be placed at the President’s Palace would be carnival costumes. Mr. Douglas never came out in support of Mr. Linton’s statement, I assume, because of political over tones. Therefore, , his recommendation at this time of his retirement, should be considered a retired recommendation.

    • TRUTH & HONESTY
      January 30, 2015

      What could you do? Lennox’s words fell on deaf ears, what can poor Clarence Douglas do. These people don’t care, they just don’t care. Don’t blame Clarence for anything, he not the scapegoat. All these people in DFC in Carnival Committee and other Committees are the ones who should come in defense of a house for carnival costumes

    • The best Medicine
      January 30, 2015

      Interesting lol! For a moment I was wonder why make it political. upon analyzing the issue and everything is political in DA, may I suggest that Mr.Douglas be stored along with the costumes at the presidents house!

  6. anonymous2
    January 29, 2015

    It is definitely true that those who make these costumes work for nothing. New costumes are made at an expense every year because the old ones are discarded. How much waste is that? Govt. should provide a storage unit for all of these costumes and cut down on the expense. There is plenty of room in the Botanical Gardens to build something and there are plenty of other govt. sites. Maybe if there was a strike by the costume makers and there was no Carnival, then something might come up. The govt. wants the Carnival to promote tourism.

  7. grell
    January 29, 2015

    Doulas the … you all have running the country has no interest in cultural preservation.Dominica is on a pace of serious demise.SMH.

  8. Rabbit
    January 29, 2015

    Are you serious? A venue for building & storing carnival costumes? What type of madness is this…when some one with reasonable sense can explain to me the purpose of this none sense this man is trying to promote with reason then i will agree but until then this idea is as ridiculous an idea that i have ever heard of. The country need infrastructure to benefit us all & not just those who want to participate in carnival. This venue should be built by you & the people like you who have a love for carnival.

    • Tiger Eye
      January 29, 2015

      Can you imagine having 15 years worth of costumes stored in a warehouse? You would need an area the size of the stadium to store that.

      The man has a passion for his craft. I have no problem with that, but to suggest we dedicate space to store costumes, year after year is madness.

      Yu can store one or two costumes and rotate them over the years, but a place dedicated to store costumes? I don’t think so.

      • dayandnightvision
        January 30, 2015

        Tiger Eye My thoughts exactly

    • anonymous2
      January 29, 2015

      Apparently the govt. likes Carnival also as a promotional tool.

    • Interpreter Found
      January 29, 2015

      you sir/madam have lost the plot…

      How does this country make its money? Tourism.

      Carnival is one of those things that brings in money, it is a growing sector.

      Now I realize that you may think “its a pagan holiday, i am a christian i dont support this” that is all good, but then please create jobs some other way. Carnival Costumes are an important part of Carnival, and therefore this article is just stating the fact that people need a place to build, store and teach everything to do with carnival costumes.

      This is a big deal, as it not only affects Calypso props, Queen Show Contestants, etc… But it is a viable way of creating jobs.

      I urge you to look at the facts, and not just spout your ignorance on this page.

      Sincerely,

      Interpreter

    • January 29, 2015

      Rabbit your comment tells me you most probable haven been out of Dominica so therefore you a lacking knowledge about carnival culture, in many countries it is demonstrated for the public to see it could be the same for us in Dominica, someone suggest the Old Mill also when tourist ship call, it would be ashamed to just discard the customers right after the event it should be stored and stop being so negative.

  9. Jon Carson
    January 29, 2015

    Personally, I preferred my WCMF as opposed to Carnival. However, Mr. Clarence Douglas has raised a very pertinent issue that is long overdue and are required if we are to continue to preserved and build on our culture and Carnival in the region thus, remaining competitive and making the event a very high caliber tourism attractions.

  10. Titiwi
    January 29, 2015

    Have a permanent display of the costumes at the Old Mill and in the cruise season give some people a job to wear them,make a little show for cruise passengers to pay and see it.
    Every dollar is one.

  11. Commentry
    January 29, 2015

    Is true. Dominica need to wake up and start conserving its culture. Discovery Dominica want to copy or promote culture and even market it to the world but what are you doing to preserve real fixtures of it. Its time you all invest in utilizing others vs the same old folks.

  12. Tiger Eye
    January 29, 2015

    What is the purpose to store the costumes? It is one thing to display some costumes, but to store costumes year after year will require a lot of space. Who will pay for that space?

    Can you imagine you own a warehouse and the space s taken up by costumes that are not generating any income?

    Mr. Douglas, I understand and appreciate the effort you put into your craft. The worse part is to see your baby destroyed after carnival, so soon after you spent so much time and energy to construct it. It is like building a sand castle on the beach.

    But to suggest space be made available to store such bulky items, it will be next to impossible to get anyone to donate that space.

    • Smell of Roses
      January 29, 2015

      Good idea to store and have tourists come and view for a small fee. Then they can see some of our culture and be impressed by our artwork. It could be made into a carnival exhibition with other items. Think people think. We need to start using our brains and come up with some bright ideas on ways to make money while creating activities not only for the tourists but for us. It could have activities for kids to decorate or make their own costumes, workshops etc.

    • anonymous2
      January 29, 2015

      And how much to you think that it costs in time and materials to remake costumes every year? These people that do the costumes do it for free. How much to you think that it would cost if you had to pay people every year? I don’t think that it would get done due to lack of funds. I would say that it is a LOT cheaper to store and reuse. Too many people here have no sense of thrift……..and these are people on a poor island. The mentality is ‘ just buy another one.’ This is another downfall of DA. Think of something that will make money and benefit others rather than continue to cost money.

    • anonymous2
      January 29, 2015

      This mentality is why Da goes nowhere. People are greedy and selfish.

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