a caribbean family in swimsuits stares out over the water toward the mountains on a dock

Kristin Frazer

Trèfle Designs, Third Generation Designer

Up the steps, through the front door and straight upstairs, Kristin Frazer always knew exactly where to find the best fabrics and accessories in the British Virgin Islands – her grandmother’s house. “Grandma, I need some stuff!” she would call downstairs. “You know where it is,” her grandmother would call back.

Designer and Trefle mastermind Kristin Frazier smiles brightly at the camera in a floral patterened turquoise dress

Kristin Frazer, Trèfle Designs

Frazer, the founder of Trèfle Designs, was instilled with a passion for sewing, fashion and pattern making at a young age. Frazer began working on a sewing machine when she was seven and rarely let up to break for her other hobbies – singing, playing her saxophone and clarinet, writing and reading. Her mother and grandmother taught Frazer to hone her passion for design.

"My grandmother was a big part of my upbringing in terms of fashion and garment construction, particularly sewing and textiles,” Frazer said. “Between my grandmother and my mother, who is also a seamstress and interior decorator, I like to consider myself a third-generation fashion designer."

Frazer’s late grandmother, known as Teacher Clover (or Miss Clova, as the locals pronounce it), was considered a pioneer in the British Virgin Islands. She started Clover Enterprises in Tortola in 1962, where it still stands today. It’s a family affair – run by Frazer, her mother Ruth and her uncle.

“My grandmother had such a pivotal role in the British Virgin Islands,” Frazer said. “She was a pioneer for the country. She helped move the country forward through her business. I really want to emulate that in any way that I can.”

Frazer’s decision to go attend design school was largely influenced by her grandmother’s example. Even though Frazer found other passions, she found herself going back to designing, sewing and finding ways to integrate those passions into her other hobbies. She even eventually named her new business for her grandmother, “trèfle” translates to “clover” in French.

"I got a diverse set of knowledge from my grandmother to take things to the next level,” Frazer said. “When I went to college, I was more advanced with my skills and techniques. I was draping and pattern making before I even knew what draping and pattern making was. My grandmother was really influential over the years.”

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a vintage photo of Frazier's grandmother, Teacher Clover, working with rolls of fabric

Ruth Clover, Frazer’s mother

During an internship with BCBG in New York in 2006, Frazer was named as a designer to watch by Yahoo! She was photographed while working at New York Fashion Week and was included in an article of up-and-coming designers.

“I put the article in an email to my mom and I said, ‘mom, you have to print it out and send it to grandma! This is important!’ and that was one of the last things she saw of me in terms of being in the fashion field. My grandmother said ‘you’ve gotta do it. You’ve gotta move forward with it.’ And it just stuck with me.”

Shortly after Miss Clover’s passing, Frazer began working tirelessly to build up her design business. Frazer worked long nights after taking a ferry ride home from her day job as a secondary school teacher and working full days at Clover’s Enterprises to build Trèfle Designs.

Moving into her tenth-year anniversary in 2018, Frazer has accomplished much – from taking the brand international to designing the BVI Olympic team’s outfit for RIO 2016 Olympics opening ceremony. Most recently, her artistry is coming to the masses as new designs on OtterBox cases. As she built her brand, her grandmother’s voice was always in her head, helping her focus on the road ahead. As her grandmother always taught her, she could never give up.

"My grandmother was a firm believer in never giving up in anything that you were passionate about or anything that you wanted to do,” Frazer said. “I personally feel like I need to move forward with her legacy. Her memory forever sticks with me. I do this for her. I do it for my mom. And I do it for the country. It is something that I truly love. I can't give up, I just can't."