Misconceptions About Fiji Fashion Week

May 26, 2015


Today I wanted to pay a little bit of attention to some of the misconceptions I’ve had about Fiji Fashion Week and comments that I hear more generally from the public. I’ve included the three most common ones I’ve come across.

Most of the designers aren’t serious about the work they’re doing

But couldn’t you say that about people in any profession? There could just as easily be teachers who aren’t serious or passionate about their work. I definitely think there are individuals who can’t really sustain an prolonged conversation about their brands but on the other hand you have designers like Rachael Bulatiko (Rachael iHeart Designs) who eloquently and confidently relayed the importance of knowing all aspects of your trade with equal emphasis on creativity, execution and business smart. You wouldn’t discredit the entire teaching profession because of a few unprofessional teachers. I think we should extend the same courtesy to our designers. Let’s get behind the ones we connect with and help them grow their brands and this industry.

Questions about the quality of local designers

I must say in the past I’ve seen some shocking stitching, poorly constructed garments and less than perfect fabric choices. I get it. You want to be inspired and get your money’s worth. As the shows grow and as we hold our designers accountable and demand better quality, I think they’ll either take up the challenge and aim to deliver or simply realise that perhaps this isn’t the space for them. There are established local designers like Hupfeld Hoerder who hold themselves to their own stringent standards of quality and perfection. Designers whose work you wouldn’t get to see on a runway here if it weren’t for Fiji Fashion Week. What about the international and regional designers? Hani Haring is a regional brand based in Tahiti but ships all over the world. I couldn’t introduce myself to designers Hani and Ben fast enough and will not be leaving Fiji without one of their pieces. Hani Haring combines the best French fabrication with local Pacific hardware and is produced in-house in Tahiti.


with designers Hani and Ben from Hani Haring

The shows are cliquey 

I thought this too. The more I attend the events the more I see the diversity in the audience. Many of the models are high school students, so you have the teens. Parents. Family. Friends. Sponsors. Corporates. The bottom line is that events like Fashion Week can become very cliquey and if you don’t want it to be so you need to get your friends together and attend. Carve out a space for yourself in an event that appears to be getting better with each year.

And lastly, people who have never been weigh in and tell you just how ‘hopeless’ it all is. My best advice is to get involved yourself. Go to one show or a few and decide for yourself. This year is the first year I’ll be attending the shows due in part to all the misconceptions I’ve listed above. I’ll come clean. It’s definitely what I thought. But being part of the events in the lead up to the shows and talking to the designers I’ve realised just how much their passions are fuelled by the desire to give back to the economy, honour traditional materials and skills, create a niche for Pacific fashion while remaining relevant in the international arena. Sure, there are still some designers who won’t get back to you, who don’t seem to want people to actually wear their clothes and have their heads in the clouds. But they seem to be the minority. I’m going to take a chance and get behind the show and its creatives, will you?

More about Fiji Fashion Week and Tickets here 

Related posts: Fiji Fashion Week Opening

Photos by Elisha Bano-Mow 

1 comment

  • Shilpa

    I think its great that you were able to talk about this. Because I found my self being critical about FFW in the past, but that was just because I didn’t really know much about it, other than seeing posters and hearing about it. I think it’s important to realize that this is still something relatively new. It’s just going to get better every year..

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