Behind the magazine mastheads, Caribbean fashion editors are making moves

So one of the things that I have always enjoyed most while running Islandista for the past 6 (nearly 7!) years is ‘discovering’ cool islandistas making their mark on the world.

It always provides a jolt of joy when I figure out that this fascinating, fabulous woman has parents from the Bahamas or was born in Haiti and so on.

One field that has several islandistas with flair is fashion - particularly fashion journalism and magazines. Interesting when you consider that the magazine industry does not have the greatest reputation for diversity at the top levels – something we’ve discussed here before and which others have discussed brilliantly elsewhere.

Caribbean crew in Paris - Nicole Chapoteau, Rajni Jacques and Shiona Turini playing around during Fashion Week.

Caribbean crew in Paris – Nicole Chapoteau, Rajni Jacques and Shiona Turini playing around during Fashion Week.

There are several women of Caribbean birth or descent who are definitely big in the game of fashion journalism, shaping the content and direction of some of the most influential magazines such as Allure, Cosmopolitan and Glamour.

So without further ado, here are some of the islandistas behind the masthead.

Rajni Jacques

Born to Haitian parents and hailing from New Jersey, Jacques, the fashion news editor at Glamour, is a magnet for the street style paps with her doe eyes and distinctive sporty-glam look. Like many other  fashionistas with practical-minded West Indian parents, she admitted that fashion journalism wasn’t really on her radar when she was younger, telling the Fashion Bomb Daily:

“Fashion was never something I thought of as a career choice. Growing up when the word profession came up, the only ones that popped into my head were doctor, lawyer, teacher, engineer etc. Working in fashion was more of a lala land fantasy.”

Haitian chicks Nicole Chapoteau and Rajni Jacques showing their style.

Haitian chicks Nicole Chapoteau and Rajni Jacques showing their style.

However, after studying journalism at Rutgers College and then Columbia University, she got an internship at the beloved Honey Magazine where she came under the guidance of editor Sydne Bolden Long. From there, she went on to other internships and then jobs at Vibe and Nylon.

Perhaps not coincidentally, she’s good friends with two other islandista fashion editors on this list with her Instagram feed full of pix of her liming with…

Nicole Chapoteau

The accessories director of Allure Magazine (formerly In Style) has a laid-back, easy-breezy style that is naturally – focused on killer accessories.

Nicole Chaptoeau

Nicole Chaptoeau

Like Jacques, her Haitian heritage (via her dad) is not far from her mind when it comes to her fashion aesthetic. In a piece written during her former position at In Style, she cited Haiti’s “vibrant, colourful art” as inspiration.

Shiona Turini

Now – hear us out with this one. Cosmopolitan Magazine’s fashion market director Turini is actually from Bermuda which technically is in the North Atlantic ocean. However, socially and culturally, the island nation which is a British overseas territory has a lot in common with the Caribbean due to decades of migration from the rest of the West Indies. The island’s political scene has been heavily influenced by politicians of Caribbean birth, soca and reggae are as popular there as anywhere else in the region. Plus they are members of CARICOM and UWI.

No place like home - Shiona Turini on one of her regular visits back to Bermuda.

No place like home – Shiona Turini on one of her regular visits back to Bermuda.

So! With all that said, we’re totally claiming Shiona Turini and her fabulous, street style stalk-worthy style – she’s unofficially known as the ‘queen of the crop top’ for her impeccable flair in wearing this hot 2014 trend. Unlike Chapoteau and Jacques, Turini is actually born and raised in Bermuda and is the third part of the Caribbean crew of fashion mag editors, being constantly photographed or captured on Instagram with the two Haitian-Americans.

Her resume is heavy, with stints at Carine Roitfeld’s CR Fashion Book, Teen Vogue and W Magazine.

She is intensely patriotic about her island home, constantly posting pictures of the sights and tastes of Bermuda and for years maintained the Style Bermuda e-magazine which highlighted the island’s fashion scene.

Caribbean girls do it best - Shiona and Rajni show their crop top savvy.

Caribbean girls do it best – Shiona and Rajni show their crop top savvy.

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