Many people in the Cayman Islands are unaware of the variety of clothes and accessories available locally, and even if they have an inkling, chances are they believe that what’s on offer is probably severely limited and overpriced. Both are misconceptions.
These days local boutiques have direct access to manufacturers and designers, allowing them to sell a wide range of fashionable wear at prices that rival shops in the US. ZIbA in The Strand Shopping Centre is one such example of a boutique that features items from international designers at prices that will really surprise you.
ZIbA opened its doors a year ago. Owner Brian C. O’Neal chose the name thanks to a friend who told him once that “Ziba” is Farsi for “beautiful.” The conversation stuck in his head, and when he was trying to think of something unusual and memorable to call his shop, it came back to him.
He decided to focus on women’s clothes only, and chose pieces and designer-wear perfect for the Caribbean climate. The result is a stylish collection of casual and semi-casual outfits that can be worn day or night.
You’ll find items by Heather out of California created from light, flowing fabrics; Betsy Moss, a hot designer based in Miami Beach; and Rory Beca, a recent transplant to California from New York whose collection combines the colour of the West Coast with the edginess of the Big Apple. These join other fabulous labels, such as Black Orchid jeans which have been featured in major fashion and entertainment magazines.
ZIbA has a number of select accessories throughout the shop, including belts, handbags, jewellery by local designer Eileen Davidson and Tkees Brazilian leather sandals, promoted as “cosmetics for your feet,” that are so popular, O’Neal can barely keep them in stock.
In a relatively short period of time ZIbA has become very well known in Grand Cayman, not just due to the variety and quality of clothing it carries, but also because the price tags are pretty impressive. Even with currency conversion taken into account, they are around exactly what you would pay in the United States, minus the cost of flights. That adds up to some pretty sweet shopping.
“We buy direct from the designers,” says O’Neal, “which means we can pass on those savings to customers in the Cayman Islands, allowing us to be very competitive in the market.”
O’Neal has always been interested in fashion. Originally from New York, thanks to his mother he grew up around boutiques and designer clothes in the Cayman Islands, and considers local guru Ed Solomon a great influence and one of the family.
He has funnelled this passion into one of the worst kept secrets on the Island, and is therefore having to look at expansion in the near future. ZIbA will be moving to larger premises in the new Caribbean Plaza on the Seven Mile strip upon its completion around September 2013.
Until then, you can stop by ZIbA at The Strand and see that it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune to be wearing the height of fashion.