Fashion in Paradise

In the village of Naqali in Naitasiri a wedding is taking place, the groom stands regally beside his bride decked out in his traditional attire of masi and his bride is wearing a masterpiece by Fijian designer Hupfeld Hoerder.

The intricate details of shells and hand painted motifs are contemporary yet delicate but importantly it reflects the evolution of fashion taking place in our tiny island paradise.

Va Turagakacivi is the bride mentioned above and was asked by Hupfeld to model her dress as part of his 2015 Bridal collection (Pic by Fotofusion)

Fiji Fashion Week has responded to this development over the last 8 years, including the introduction of of the Resort Wear Show last year to help local designers tap into the tourism market.

This year a new category has been introduced, the Couture Bridal and Evening Show which will showcase some of Fiji's most successful Established Designers such as Robert Kennedy, Moira Solvalu John, Anton Conway Wye, and Hupfeld Hoerder.

"Exclusive made designs are custom made garments for the bridal market so my 'big clients' would basically be for this market and gauging on last year's business performance I would have to say I am happy with business" said Hoerder.

FJFW has helped launch many careers of designers in Fiji and they have an impressive line up of young Fijian designers returning home to showcase their maiden collections, regional designers from Samoa and PNG and internationals from Italy, Australia and Los Angeles.

FJFW Managing Director, Ellen Whippy - Knight said that the fashion industry in Fiji though fledgling is beginning to take shape.

"The garment industry in Fiji has been the big earner for our Fiji's GDP and FJFW's main objective is to assist designers to become commercial by carving a sustainable income from something they are passionate about" said Whippy - Knight.

Whippy Knight also said that formal fashion and design education is critical in the development of the fashion industry and she continues to address this by lobbying with the government for it's inclusion into the secondary schools curriculum. FNU and APTC are now in their second year of Fashion and Design studies.

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