Interest in fashion has been around for a while in Fiji and as diverse as high school students taking to the catwalk in the northern town of Labasa in the ‘90s, while more sophisticated fashion events were being staged in the capital, Suva.
However, perhaps never has the future of fashion designing looked more definite in Fiji than it is now with fashion industry leaders determined to turn their stuff into a distinct national niche through Fiji Fashion Week, with the December 2009 event previewed in Suva last week.
“We are a clever country with many talented people,” said Fashion Week chairman Ian McLean, as models cat walked simple, yet elegant designs.
“This festival will help nurture and grow this talent. It is talent such as this that will take this country forward,” said McLean.
Held in December 2008 in Nadi, the inaugural Fiji Fashion Week was a bid to create a platform for young emerging designers and talented models to form a designer-buyer relationship.
The 2008 event featured 48 newly-trained models showcasing the work of 12 local designers based on criteria set by a team of international experts who visited Fiji as observers last year.
That event won the accolades and admiration of international designer-experts who acknowledged the potential of Fiji’s fashion industry.
Behind it all is Donnalesi Whippy, a young woman who wants to take her brainchild and use it as a precursor to creating a new industry based on fashion.
Her intention is to make Fiji Fashion Week one of the most prominent and celebrated events on Fiji’s social calendar.
Since its inception, FFW created a fashion club, a monthly forum for designers and models, photographers, and journalists, etcetera.
Now, Fashion Week organisers foresee a much bigger and better show come December 2-6 this year at the Hilton Hotel in Denarau, Nadi as a way to bigger and better things for the industry.
“We do have a large garment manufacturing industry that already makes the statement that Fiji is in fashion,” said chairman McLean.
“But why should Fiji bother to have a fashion week? We are not Paris or Milan, we are an island in the middle of the Pacific,” McLean said.
“The reason is simple and it boils down to one thing, talent. This is a country with enormous reserves of talent in a whole wide variety of areas, particularly in the fashion area,” he said.
McLean said there are a large number of very talented designers, garment makers, models, photographers, make-up artist and marketers all of whom will be able to develop their talents through this festival.
“This festival will help nurture and...