Bajan fashion designer Shaquille ‘Five Cent’ Drayton takes us into his zone

Shaquille ‘Five Cent’ Drayton

You may call him the god of hustle or ambition because Shaquille ‘Five Cent’ Drayton is in a zone of his own where fashion is concerned. The owner of one of Barbados’ most popular apparel brands; Zone Five Clothing sat down with BUZZ for an exclusive interview.

Drayton has been operating his clothing brand for seven years. The name- Zone Five is an offshoot of his alias “Five Cent’, and alludes to his creative process of him getting in the ‘zone’.

He shared that his business is the result of the passion for fashion he’s had since he was very young. “From I was young I was always into fashion. Every time I dress to go to a party people would ask me where I get my clothes from, and I guess it was only right that I start my own clothing line. I guess it’s something that happened naturally,” he said.

And so far he has no complaints as his business has been booming. “Business has been going good. It has constantly been growing and any growth is good but I’ve been doing renovations to my flagship store and focusing on shipping my brand worldwide for international customers.”

But he admitted that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an effect on his business.

“We have a culture in Barbados where people mostly go to stores to shop for parties [and that has slowed down].”

But even in the pandemic, there is a silver lining for Drayton. “I would say COVID helped me to regain my focus in terms of reading more, being more strategic with my marketing and seeing how far I can push my clothing brand overseas and not depending on the local audience only.”

Drayton said his success is due to the support of Bajans

The 27-year-old is an artist in his own right as he draws his designs by hand and is known as one of the most cutting-edge brands in Barbados. But he said he could have achieved this without the support of Bajans.

“The locals put me out there on the map that when artists come to perform and they ask what is the hottest thing in Barbados I have people that would tell them Zone Five,” he said.

Adding that his family’s support has also contributed greatly to his success story. “Most of my family are entrepreneurs and growing up in a household where people are goal-driven -it has rubbed off on me,” he said.

Drayton also had some advice for aspiring entrepreneurs in the Caribbean.

“Before other people view you as a success- you have to believe and see yourself as a success in your own [mind]. You must think so and project that energy out for people to take you seriously.”