Carnival Costume Production Workshops

December 6, 2018

The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs has partnered with one of the major bands of Bermuda’s Carnival, Nova Mas International, to sponsor Carnival Costume Production Workshops taking place at The Berkeley Institute this Saturday and Sunday [December 8 & 9], as well as an intensive Carnival Costume Design Challenge lasting several weeks.

“In watching the evolution of the Bermuda Carnival, we realized it was imperative that we find ways of ensuring that it develops into a uniquely Bermudian experience, with Bermudians learning all parts of the industry,” said the Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sports Lovitta Foggo. “For those who have participated in carnival – and even for those who haven’t – it’s clear that carnival costumes are a huge part of the experience.”

“People spend hundreds of dollars on these costumes. Some of the individual costumes, with their extravagant feathers, can cost upwards of $1,000. With potentially hundreds of people participating in Carnival and paying several hundred dollars per costume, the revenue opportunities are significant for some Bermudians who are able to enter this niche ‘side market’.”

Nova Mas International at the BHW Launch in January of this year


“Currently, many of the bands produce their costumes using overseas designers and producers. So the potential is there for local entrepreneurs to profit, and expand their businesses. It must also be emphasized that once people develop and improve their costume design and costume making skills, they do not have to limit themselves to making costumes only for Carnival. Such skills and techniques are transferrable. This adds to the potential for growth and development within this economic sector.”

Three participants showing particular promise from the Carnival Costume Design workshop [this weekend] will be selected to participate at no cost in the intensive Carnival Costume Design Challenge which will be hosted under the Department’s ‘Bermuda Cultural Apprenticeship Program’ umbrella. Under the instruction of Daryl ‘Designing Daryl’ Cox [tradition bearer], candidates will undergo an intense two and half months of guided facilitation as they complete a costume prototype.  The tradition bearer would work with each of the candidates from start to finish via in person meetings and remote touch point meetings.  Mr. Cox is a Trinidadian costume designer whose work can be seen in most of the major carnivals globally including Miami, Toronto, Cayman and New York.

The apprenticeship programme is organized in three phases:

  • Phase One focuses on theme selection and description, and participants will give a presentation on their inspiration and how their costumes will develop in relation to the theme.  They will receive feedback on how well they were able to “market” their idea.
  • During Phase Two, apprentices will sketch out their design and list materials that will be used, along with budgets.
  • Phase Three involves the creation of a design prototype.   This will involve aspects central to costume fabrication including sourcing materials, working with seamstresses, and learning about how functional their designs would be in a real-life carnival “road” context. Apprentices will be given feedback on their use of materials, aesthetic appeal, and how well their designs reflect the overall theme.

“It has been remarkable to witness the rapid expansion of Bermuda’s carnival, which in just a few short years has become a successful, well-attended signature feature on our island’s summer events calendar,” said Minister Foggo. “Jason Sukdeo and the team at Bermuda Heroes Weekend Ltd. are to be commended for their hard work and innovation in bringing a Bermuda carnival to life.

“We are delighted to work with Nova Mas to provide this opportunity to Bermudians who see both a cultural and economic value in their love of carnival.  It is our hope that this programme will help plant a seed for the budding of a new creative industry for Bermudians.”

To register for this weekend’s workshop, go to or email for more information. The cost starts at $130 per workshop. Workshops being offered are: Gemming 101, Feather work 101 and Costume Design Basics.

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