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Fashion Never Sleeps

Aisea Konrote is by far one of the free spirited person you would ever meet.  One of Fiji’s renowned fashion designer with the brand Hefrani he will be featuring in
31 Mar 2018 10:00
Fashion Never Sleeps
Designed by Aisea Konrote

Aisea Konrote is by far one of the free spirited person you would ever meet.  One of Fiji’s renowned fashion designer with the brand Hefrani he will be featuring in this year’s Bottega Gold Fijian Fashion Festival.

Another young but experienced designer Tiana Vono will be showcasing her brand ‘VONO’ in the Moana Category at the Festival. So it’s an exciting mix…

Read on as we ask Aisea and Tiana about their experiences in the fashion industry.

 

Aisea Konrote

Aisea is one of the designers that will be displaying an 80-piece collection exclusively at a solo designer show at this years Bottega Gold Fijian Fashion Festival. His collection will feature in the Legendary Designer category at the festival and includes a wide range of garments including kaftans, saris, kurtas and sulu chambers; keeping respectability and the cultural elements of it but also designing for the ‘new’ person. The ‘Hefrani’ by Aisea Konrote solo show is bound to be 4 segments of explosive fashion.

Read on as we ask Aisea about his experiences in the fashion industry.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

All I can say is that I am a free-spirited person who isn’t usually a fan of rules and regulations. My previous collections will testify to this.

How did you first get interested in Fashion?

Through my mother—a beautiful and glamorous woman who happened to be a seamstress as well. I practically grew up at the base of her sewing machine and the interest germinated.

What is your definition of fashion?

Beauty and Comfortability (or vice-versa)

What motivates you as a fashion designer?

A rich island environment and the ability to create some unique and great pieces are motivational enough.

How do you stay up-to-date with fashion?

I don’t. I believe in myself and tend to listen to my instincts more than trends.

Where do you see yourself/your brand in 10 years time?

10 years ago (in 2008), I created a 10-year plan for myself with great objectives, which I have managed to achieve. This year, I’ve created another 10-year plan with greater objectives, which I know, can be accomplished with blessings and hard work.

If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career, what would it be?

Beware of the snakes in the green pastures.

What was the biggest rookie mistake you made when just starting out?

Had the opportunity to be a Costume Designer for a Production and I turned up on rehearsal day with Red Carpet/Fashion Runway pieces—meanwhile, the scenes were all set in the rural areas. Lesson learnt—LISTEN!

What drew you to show your designs at the Fijian Fashion Festival?

The ability to have my own solo show where designs are not rushed down the runway.

My vision, story, style and colour will complement the designs on the runway. These will bring my designs alive.

What do you do in your free time?

There are three things that I do in my free time:

Reading—just reread ‘The Broker’ by John Grisham.

Watching movies.

Having a red wine…or two with close friends and family.

What are some comments that you’ve received that sound like compliments but are actually insults?

“You’re a fashion designer”—the intonation was enough to confirm that it came from the depths of hell.

If you could choose only one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be?

“Mehbooba” from the movie Sholay because it has mystical and melodious beats and rhythms originating from a gypsy vibe with feelings of liberation and sensuality.

 

Tiana Vono

‘VONO’ by Tiana Vono is another showstopper set to walk the runway at the Bottega Gold Fijian Fashion Festival.

The Moana Category consists of visiting designers who have come on board to showcase their designs.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

My name is Tiana Vono, I’m 22- years-old and I was born and raised in Sydney, Australia but I’m originally from Naivakacau in Tailevu.

I currently work as a stylist and I also manage a menswear-clothing store while at the same time running and establishing my VONO brand and business.

How did you first get interested in Fashion?

I can’t remember a time where I first took interest in fashion or made a decision to become a designer.

It’s kind of something that’s always been with me. It’s a gift that everyone is born with and how you choose to utilise that gift is up to you. I had to step into the unknown with this one but I haven’t looked back since.

What is your definition of fashion?

Well everyone has a different take on fashion. This is primarily because we each have a personal connection with fashion and experience it differently. I see fashion the same way I see art—I see the story and the message.

What motivates you as a fashion designer?

WOMEN motivate me. Women of colour particularly. There’s something so magical about black women.

How do you stay up-to-date with fashion?

I actually don’t stay up to date with fashion trends, which is really bad I guess.

In my defence though, the 80s and 90s are where I draw my inspiration from for a lot of the pieces I design. So I’m constantly researching and reading into that era—not just about fashion but also with music, art and poetry.

Where do you see yourself/your brand in 10 years time?

Hopefully in 10 years time, my business is internationally established and where I want it to be. It’s all about hard work and consistency With the right attitude, anything is possible! I still have a long way to go but I’m appreciating the journey.

If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career, what would it be?

If I could go back and tell myself something, I would tell myself that’s “it’s all worth it”! I missed out on a lot of things as a young teen, didn’t get to do a lot of things my friends at the time were doing! I was in University, working and doing internships while trying to plan out and work towards my business. At the time I kind of hated myself and wanted to just drop everything.

But I look back now and it was definitely all worth it in the end.

What was the biggest rookie mistake you made when just starting out?

The biggest mistake I made was time management! There’s no time to waste when working in a business, as there are standards & deadlines to meet.

I learnt this the hard way! Crazy fact my entire collection flew in from Fiji a day before a fashion show I was showcasing at! Yeah, never again.

What drew you to show your designs at the Fijian Fashion Festival?

I chose to showcase at the Bottega Gold Fijian Fashion Festival because I really loved their vision for designers! It’s something new; it’s fun! They’re bringing a whole different culture of fashion to Fiji.

I think they have a great team behind them and I’m honored to have been given the opportunity to put up my designs on this platform!

What do you do in your free time?

In my free time I like to read and paint. I’ve just recently been on a health kick so working out is also on the list. I don’t get a lot of free time but when I have a big chunk of it, honestly I just sleep!

What are some comments that you’ve received that sound like compliments but are actually insults?

I haven’t received any insults—YET! Most comments I get usually lean towards improvement or things I could’ve changed and I usually take that all on board as constructive feed back.

If you could choose only one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be?

My song would have to be “Sumthin Sumthin” by Maxwell! He’s just so fly and so cool and his music is timeless. You can feel his soul and rhythm; it’s my forever track!

Any Advice for aspiring designers?

My advice is to take that leap of faith and just go with it! It’s not easy and there’s definitely many obstacles and set backs; but that all comes down to you and how bad you want it.  It’s achievable with the right mindset. There’s so much room in this industry! Once you take that step out of your comfort zone, you’re half way there!

The Bottega Gold Fijian Fashion Festival is posed to take place on the 1st and 2nd of June, 2018 at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva—the home of the Fijian Fashion Festival.

The festival is an initiative of the Fashion Council of Fiji.

Feedback:  maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj



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