For decades, you could count on one hand the number of people who could call themselves fashion designers in Fiji.
Using the definition that a fashion designer is one who consistently earns a living from the design and production of fashion apparel, this pool of creatives has now expanded largely due to the tenacity of Fiji Fashion Week (FJFW).
For fifteen years, FJFW, led by Australian Managing Director Ellen Whippy-Knight and a team of Fijian event specialists, has created the premier fashion event in the Pacific.
“It’s been a long road to get to this 15th edition of FJFW and the past three years have been the toughest year for the fashion industry globally, as well as for Fiji Fashion Week and our designers and But at every turn, we stood up and paved the way for the industry.
FJFW x Palmolive has announced a line-up of 24 star designers to celebrate its 15th anniversary.
Ms Whippy-Knight said a brand new FJFW global brand created in the first year of the pandemic meant COVID was no match for “our passion to promote and showcase Fijian fashion on the World Scene”.
“We are excited about what the future holds for Fiji Fashion Week as we are fresh, nimble and innovative and, with the support of designers, models and other industry players, we can pivot not only to rise to the challenge, but also to blaze our way towards a fantastic future.These creators who will parade from May 27 to 28 tell 15 years of innovation.
With new guidelines for designers to work sustainably in line with Pacific Community environmental values, designers are working on a set of values around “Sustain our culture. Let’s build our future. And celebrate”.
“Fijian fashion designers through their work preserve our cultural heritage and our identity in the way they express it in creating fashion. This in turn secures our future by earning our place in the global fashion industry. And that’s something to celebrate! said Mrs. Whippy-Knight.
The Resort Cruise on Friday May 27 opens with emerging designer and boutique owner Jackie Whippy and includes Australia-based Fijians Esiteri Selina Talakuli, Mohini Gounder, Hupfeld Hoerder and Emma Trembat.
Young stars Cecilia Fong and Hosanna Kabakoro, whose recent retail success under their Portulina and Duatani brands, bring back collections featuring edgy new island flavors that have occupied their labels since their FJFW debut in 2020 .
Harsha Meetal and Bulou Caeway, whose daring entry into FJFW’s first virtual show of 2021 was acclaimed, will make their runway debuts for the first time this first night.
Also presenting on May 27 Zulfikar Ali of the AZA brand which has just opened a new innovative business and fashion showroom.
The final three of the lineup pack this first night with dramatic event apparel designer Su Samuels of Lavalani alongside Michael Mausio of the House of Mausio whose popularity has exploded since the opening of a new retail store in the Fijian capital, Suva. .
The crown jewel of the Resort Cruise Show is Auckland-based brand Kiri Nathan, whose fame has been created in the production of unique and innovative clothing and jewelery that reflects the cultural and natural beauty of Aotearoa, New Zealand.
The multi-award-winning label is run by Maori with a strong Maori ethos and aesthetic among its leading clients in New Zealand industries and government and celebrity culture.
On day two of the Resort Luxe Show, newest graduate of The Fashion Studio Sydney Laisiasa Davetawalu (ELARADI) fresh out of a show-stopping collection will open the first night of FJFW2022.
Another collection to watch is Kalokalo, a capsule of four of the biggest names in the industry; Temesia Tuicaumia, Samson Lee, Andrew Powell and Robert Verebasaga, who collaborate under a new brand and a new style.
Many eyes will be on overseas-based designers Jyoti Singh (UK), Hupfeld Hoerder and cultural event and artist extraordinaire Letila Mitchell whose work at the Sydney Opera House of late has been a shining example. of the cultural brilliance of the Pacific.
Resort wear specialist Tracey Farrington and Anton Wye, Rosie Semisi and plus size queen Moira Solvalu, who has been known to sell out all of her collections within hours of an FJFW show, will bring much of the popularity into the final night .
However, it will be the collections of international designers Karen Smith (Australia), Bobby Luke Dr (New Zealand) and Akira Isogawa (Australia) that will set the bar high for FJFW x Palmolive.
FJFW Designer Relations Coordinator Chris Vanua says an eclectic pre-show program has been designed to give their 15th Edition designers value for participation.
“We have visiting international fashion educators and sustainable fashion advocates, which is very important for our designers to understand and embrace how the world is moving towards sustainable practices, safeguarding and preserving our culture and natural environment,” Mr. Vanua said.
“We are excited to host our industry event with designers on May 25 at the Grand Pacific Hotel, where designers have the opportunity to engage with industry stakeholders, followed by Sustainabili-Tea with Claire Press on May 26, a morning “high tea” event featuring a presentation by international fashion sustainability advocate and expert Clare Press and other international and Fijian guests.
With front row tickets to FJFW x Palmolive sold out and reservations quickly filling rows B and C, Ms. Whippy-Knight said the event will feature a stadium session for the first time.
“Fashion is for everyone and this pandemic has taught us the value of local innovation and collaboration. So for $10 anyone in this country with a flair for passion can watch one or the other FJFW night.
FJFW x Palmolive takes place May 21-28 and tickets are available at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Lice Movono is a freelance journalist and freelance PR coordinator.