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Designer James Hackett’s Story-Inspired Textiles

Trinidadian designer James Hackett combines fashion and storytelling with his Lush Kingdom textiles.

James Hackett
James Hackett’s island-inspired textile designs have found global appeal. Courtesy James Hackett/Lush Kingdom

James Hackett’s Lush Kingdom textiles are a visual shorthand for the Caribbean. With their rich color palette, creative designs and evocative names such as Hibiscus Blue, Lush Parakeets and Guava Season, they provide both wearer and viewer with a tastemaker’s touch of the tropics.

It was a custom Hackett textile that acclaimed Grenadian American fashion designer Fe Noel used for her styles featured in a 2019 issue of Vogue. Beyoncé and actress Gabrielle Union have been spotted wearing Hackett-Noel collaborations.

Hackett describes Lush Kingdom as “what you want to see the Caribbean to be—something that is imagined by our most creative selves and inspired by our surroundings and the things that make us unique.” His patterns adorn everything from sketchbooks and face masks to his own pocket collections of dresses and swimwear.

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He finds inspiration all around him on Trinidad. His pattern Desi Deratta pays homage to the island’s East Indian heritage and the handloom prints from that region. Nu Africana celebrates Emancipation Day, and is one of several free print downloads offered on the Lush Kingdom website to encourage experimentation and collaboration between creatives. His bestselling print, Vivrant, captures the island’s foliage as well as Hackett’s overall aesthetic: “I want people to feel they’re looking at something lush, rich and vibrant.” 

Where did the name Lush Kingdom come from? I was walking home on a nice, sunny day. Everything just felt cool. I was looking at the Northern Range. There were these wonderful colors in people’s gardens. I thought, “I’m living in a lush kingdom.”  

What advice do you have for aspiring designers? Find your point of view. All of us have unique stories that people are interested in hearing. The best you can do is share and show your point of view.

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James Hackett’s Top Trinidad Picks

Food trucks at Eddie Hart Frounds (El Dorado): The vendors offer such a variety of street foods, including the ever-popular doubles, which are two flatbreads with chickpeas inside.  

Macqueripe Beach: It’s one of the quieter beaches. You reach it on a wonderful walk, descending through the bushes. It feels like a secret adventure.

Maracas Falls: It’s such a lush environment. There’s a natural pool where you can take a dip, get some rest and then hike back out.

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