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Me and My Designs

Me and My Designs
Hupfeld Hoerder with models wearing his designs.
July 17
19:44 2017

Nothing has stopped Hupfeld Hoerder from doing what he loves best: de­signing for 20 years now.

Hupfeld, as his known, is of Rotuman-Ger­man origin and was born and raised here in Fiji.

He began designing simple shift dresses to casual resort wear while pursuing under­graduate studies at the University of the South Pacific.

He recalls during an interview: “Slowly the demand grew for more formal gowns and bridal wear incorporating authentic fiber with a westernised design and this eventu­ally lead into haute couture category.”

Most of his garments are exclusive designs and on made-to-measure mode.

“I have also moved into textile designs, where I have created fabric designs for our Fiji national athletes to the Olympic and Commonwealth games, with some other ma­jor organisations in Fiji.

“I have also won national fashion and busi­ness awards that has immensely put me on an advantage position.

“In 2008, I was the only designer in the Pacific that was represented at the first Is­lands of the World Fashion Week and was a finalist for both major categories in Cultural Wear and Eco-Wear. And represented Fiji at Style Pasifika Fashion Show in New Zealand as part of the “Real New Zealand Festival and the Rugby World Cup in October 2011.

“Currently, I have started manufacturing a limited edition line targeting the affluent market and have started distributing them at selective outlets in Fiji.

“Eventually, I would like to have the oppor­tunity to tap into the international market.

“My accolades of awards both national and international and participation in interna­tional fashion shows have given me many opportunities and exposure.

“I now have established a niche market with Fijians and other Pacific Islanders living overseas where I have sent exclusive garments and hand painted fabrics as far as the US, Brussels, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Germany and many more.”

11 QUESTIONS WITH HUPFELD HOERDER

How did you know you wanted to be a fashion designer?

I actually wanted to become and architect when I was in high school, but I was always very arty in school. However, during my sec­ond year at University whilst completing my undergraduate studies in economics I start­ed to have this passion for fashion and de­sign. So it started with simple shift dresses and it took off from there.

What’s excites you about the fashion industry?

The fashion industry like any other indus­try is always evolving.

One must be aware of the needs and wants of their customers or their niche market and create and develop a product to meet these needs and wants.

Fashion trends are also like a cycle with ad­ditions or inspirations from different eras.

It is exciting because a designer’s challenge is to create a market base or niche market and to sustain that market you have to be creative and understand the psychology of your market so that you are able to create products to suit them.

What distinguishes your design from the other designers?

It is exciting because a designer’s challenge is to create a market base or niche market and to sustain that market you have to be

creative and understand the psychology of your market so that you are able to create products to suit them.

How do you produce and distributeyour designs?

I outsource to Intimate Apparel and the rest of the orders I do from my workshop, my de­signs are distributed online and also at Pearl Traders and Outfitters an exclusive boutique owned and managed by someone very close to me – Bernadette Rounds Ganilau.

Do you scope out the competition?

Competition is good for anyone running a business, however I design and work with what I am inspired by and believe what makes someone looks and feels good, not necessarily following a trend.

What do you enjoy most and the least about your job?

I enjoy everything about it (designing).

Once you have the product, how do you get the word out?

Social media plays a vital role in terms of marketing and promoting your product on­line. But mostly by word of mouth or social media.

What store would you love to have your clothes in?

Not any in particular as I would rather have an online boutique for now because it is more manageable.

How do you think the fashion industry in Fiji can improve?

Government and financial institutions need to provide more incentives and grants for small aspiring designers to assist them building their brand.

The provision for more workshops and fo­rum discussions should be organised so that designers, bloggers, make-up artists, photog­raphers etc can share their views and opin­ions on the latest issues.

So that we are aware of opportunities and keeping abreast with the latest trends, and issues that is affecting the industry.

What are you future plans?

Expand my online boutique and diversify into other products like accessories

Go into training and development where I would like to be a trainer in fashion and de­sign and teach the less fortunate in rural and less developed countries to generate skills so that they can become young aspiring entre­preneurs to be self-sufficient.

Contribute more to charity and help young teenagers, school drop outs and adolescence to develop basic soft skills so that they could find jobs and start their own small business.

What advice can you give to upcoming de­signers?

Nothing happens overnight, you just need to work hard, commit and persevere and be passionate with what you do and you will definitely succeed.

Winning awards is not everything. What is important is that your product is viable and you are happy with your work.

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

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