NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In just a few days Brooklyn will explode with Caribbean music, dancing and, of course, costumes.
It’s the peaceful side of the West Indian Day festivities that we don’t always hear about.
CBS2’s Jessica Moore has an exclusive look inside one company as people prepare hundreds of costumes for the big day.
Before many of the colorful costumes of the West Indian American Day Carnival take center stage and parade down Eastern Parkway this Labor Day, the pieces are put together at costume and design company StronJeh International in East Flatbush.
Dozens of employees and volunteers have spent hours sewing and gluing together nearly 500 costumes for this year’s carnival.
“There is a lot of excitement and build-up to get there,” said Caprice Connor, the CEO of StronJeh.
It’s one of the busiest times at his store. For the last few months his staff has been going non-stop, taking orders and hand-making costumes for individuals and bands of people.
“If it’s 100, then we put more people on the same project. So it will take three to four days to do one section. That’s not including the feathering yet,” Connor said.
The sections include backline, midline and frontline. Each costume comes with a different price tag, but one could cost you $1,000, which is why this group takes it seriously.
“If it’s not what is on the mannequin, then we have a problem,” team members Jerri Reid said.
The team members spent a whole day putting together 10 bras for a group of clients, paying attention to every fine detail.
“I have one more to do after this and then I can move on to another project,” Reid said.
The Brooklyn parade dates back to the 1940s, but the history of parades in the West Indies far exceeds that.
“This is when we get to show off our culture,” xxxx said.
“It’s a step back in the past, to see the creativeness of what it used to be to what it is now,” team member Sherry Buxo said.
What it is now: A cultural explosion these people are proud of.
Pick up and distribution for Monday’s event starts Thursday.