February 11, 1993- Ralstan Hughes was born to Louise Barnes and raised mostly in the community of Hatton. As a result of living briefly in the Liberta community, his schooling began at the Gracehill Moravian Preschool and Liberta Primary School. Upon relocating to Hatton, he began attending the Green Bay Primary School and then went on to the Ottos Comprehensive School.
Hughes recollects not having the easiest of childhoods as he had to deal with a lot of negativity and criticism from persons who insisted that he would not become anything in life. Though the negative treatment was hurtful, he did not let that derail him but, rather, strengthened his resolve to succeed in life.
Initially, he had his sights set on becoming a chef but designing was the passion that stole his heart. He recounts that while growing up he was a crafty person who liked to work with his hands and create things. Hughes was able to make a debut into the world of design when he won his first show in 2012; ‘Fashiontastic’, where he won three out of five segments. Following this win, he went on to become second runner up in the Independence Fashion Show and he admits that that is when he knew designing was something he definitely wanted to pursue. Since then, he has always placed in the top three of all the shows he has entered.
He regards the 2017 Independence Fashion Show as one of his most memorable wins. The theme of this presentation was ‘Tell me your story’ and they had to share the story that the clothing design embodies. He recalls not having anything prepared and so he spoke from the heart which really meant a lot for him in that moment.
2017 Independence Fashion Show Winning Design by Ralston Hughes
Vanda Neal Gardner, Independence Fashion Show Chairperson, recognised his potential and took him under his wings to nurture him. He describes the welcome into the local world of design as being quite warm with other local designers embracing and accepting him and offering ideas to improve his craft. Hughes admits that at first, customer support was a bit lacking but that has since improved due to his increased exposure and his willingness to adapt by expanding his services to include doing photoshoots. He also offers personal shopper and interior decorating services. He has had the opportunity to extend his services to major personalities including leading Caribbean artist Heather Doram and Staci Russell, nationally acclaimed makeup artist.
Reflecting on Ralstan’s professional services Heather Doram stated “Ralstan is one of the most creative individuals that I have ever met. He has a very unique vision and perspective when it comes to fashion. Among his strengths is the art of embellishments, selecting fashion to suit individual women’s bodies, an eye for detail and coming up with unique designs which have not been seen before. He has been my stylist and the creative director on several of my birthday shoots and I look forward to working with him in the future. I’m looking forward to him releasing an entire collection showcasing his exciting brand.”
Hughes considers himself a ‘visionist’ as he is able to see design concepts and ideas before they become reality. He is of the firm belief that he is responsible for styling the whole person to include more than just the outfit; but the hair, makeup and any other factor which would complement the look. It is his dream to become the next Calvin S ( Calvin Southwell) of Antigua and Barbuda and he has taken steps to enroll in courses that would help him to gather more experience in the field and become better at what he does.
Presently, Hughes operates his designing venture on a part time basis. His steady income is derived as a Junior Clerk within the Ministry of Housing. He hopes to increase his presence in the area of design by opening a store one day. He tags himself ‘a creeper, ‘someone that we will see gradually grow before our eyes’. It is his belief that his humility, gratitude and willingness to persevere despite the opposition he faced in earlier years has brought him thus far and he encourages other young persons to ‘Be yourself, stick to the ground, do not let anyone belittle you and find your niche.’