Archive for May, 2014

Danielle and Chantelle Piper – Two Beautiful Gems of Two Cultures

May 29, 2014

by Fabian Burrell (Previously published in Caribbean Life Newspaper in May 2012.)

Many 23 year olds are still trying to figure out what college major to enroll in for the coming
school year and then some are already on an exciting career path. Danielle and Chantelle
Piper are twins that have already decided on their career paths and are successfully
navigating it, to much acclaim. Their write-ups or “ink” as we say in journalism lingo is
envious even for well-established celebrities. Once you meet them, you immediately
understand what draws them to the attention of newshounds.

Notice, I did not say paparazzi! Yes, they are beautiful and vivacious to look at but these
are not your average pretty faces. They have a lot to say about their careers, young men,
world affairs and they do it with confidence and in unison. Yes, they speak almost the same
words at the same time and laugh and exude joy all at once.

The twins have carved out a niche for themselves with Kastle Designs and Treasure Chest
Jewelry. Although the businesses complement each other they are the sole creations of each
twin. Kastle Designs is a women’s fashion line created by Danielle out of her love for fashion
and designing. “Kastle Designs isn’t about fashion and keeping up with the latest trends. It is
about high quality, classic silhouettes that flatter and fit perfectly,” said Danielle who is
singularly focused on finishing a garment that’s functional and beautiful from concept to fit.
“Treasure Chest Jewelry was created out of a love for artistic, handmade objects and of
course – my addiction to beads! I enjoy making one of a kind pieces that are easily wearable
no matter the trend or season. My jewelry is fun, unique and definitely makes a statement.
I use an eclectic range of materials but my current favorites are sterling silver, glass beads,
Swarovski crystals, and rare gemstones,” said Chantelle.

With a language that is sophisticated beyond their years, the offsprings of a Ghanaian dad
and Montserratian mom, are fearless in sharing the spotlight and wants everyone to know
about Montserrat – http://www.visitmontserrat.com “You can still catch the Annual Dive Festival
June 26-July 2nd. Travel to Montserrat and enjoy the beauty and nature via Antigua with
Winair Airline and Fly Montserrat!” they exclaimed, breathlessly.

Born in St. Luke’s Hospital in New York City and raised in Ghana until they were 9 years old;
they have a love for lasagna, kontombre stew with rice, codfish with yams and dumplings and
fufu. Proud of their African and Caribbean heritage, they pay homage to it by creating
designs lush with the earth tones of their mother’s homeland. Their visits to Montserrat
created a passion in them to see it rebuilt after the devastating volcanic eruptions which still
flows today. The remnants of the damaged former W. H. Bramble International airport was
finally completely covered by new volcanic flows in February 2010! A boutique in Montserrat,
their designs being sold on the island and a foundation to support restoration of Montserrat
to its former “Emerald Isle” status and rebuild the infrastructure are in their future plans.

As is the case with most things in their lives, they both graduated from Fashion Industries
High School and later went on to Fashion Institute of Technology where the received their
Bachelor of Arts degrees. But they will tell you in a minute that it was their mother’s sewing
skills that led them on this path. Their mom, Matina Piper, made their school uniforms and
hand-embroidered their names on their school supplies and uniforms. That drew Danielle’s
attention, at age 9, and she started sketching lavish gowns and cutting them to fit model
forms.

Their pursuit of their business goals is a full-time effort that keeps them busy in addition to
assignments as fashion models and appearances on major television shows such as the
‘Rachael Ray Show,’ and an MTV commercial for Snickers. NBC’s ‘Today Show,’ Intimacy Bra
line modeling and a new Wyndham Hotel window in midtown Manhattan displaying their
designs came about as a result of their inclusion on istylist.com where their designs can be
purchased. Architecture and culture can be seen in those designs and Danielle dreams of
one day designing for First Lady Michelle Obama; a fuschia colored dress elegantly cut and stylishly
spiced.

Giving all credit where due, Danielle interned at Marchesa and Maggie Norris Couture and also
worked as a freelance costume designer. Chantelle interned at the accessories showroom for
Diane Von Furstenburg and Juicy. Their older sister Racquel who crochets cellphone cases
for her Quelly Rue Designs and their aunt Lucy continues to inspire them. Even mom designs
burlap bags to add to her many talents; crocheting, knitting, sewing and embroidery.
“We went from dreaming of one day being fashion/jewelry designers, to working with notable
designers, and now manufacturing our own line and operating our own fashion/jewelry
businesses,” they said in unison.

Knowing they have a voice in changing the world, these young women think carefully before
they speak. “We believe that everyone should be granted healthcare regardless of their
situation,” Chantelle offered. “We are all humans and if someone needs medical help they
should be able to go to the hospital and get a check-up instead of disregarding their medical
concern/issue because they don’t have [medical] coverage. So many people have lost family
members because they didn’t have health coverage and that is heartbreaking.”
“Social media” is a great source for networking, advertising, and a great way to generate
traffic to your business. We use Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and Blogger as marketing, and
networking tools. Weeding out the spammers is a challenge, but it comes with the territory,”
Danielle opined.

Launching Kastle Designs and Treasure Chest Jewelry during Fashion Week 2010 at The
Gates is probably their biggest achievement in their career.
If you are wondering if this gets to their heads, their mom will tell you, “It is easy to steer
one, but hard to steer two. Fortunately, they are their own best friend and so I am lucky
their positive support of each other keeps them focused and away from the pitfalls of the
fashion industry, like drugs and late-night drinking binges.”

The late Mary and Joseph Piper from St. Peters, Montserrat would be very proud of their
granddaughters whose positive words and attitudes, beautiful smile and spirit has elevated
them rather quickly in the world of fashion design and modelling.

Advertisements