Bringing A Global Show To The Pacific

Last year, the festival introduced all front row seating and the option of individual designer shows, a first for any Fijian fashion platform. The one runway was in the Britannia ballroom pre-function area for group shows and individual shows.
26 Apr 2019 10:15
Bringing A Global Show To The Pacific
The Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva.

The inception of the Bottega Fijian Fashion Festival in 2018 brought extraordinary changes in the way fashion shows in Fiji have been done in the past. This year we’re back with more revolution- ary magic.

Last year, the festival introduced all front row seating and the option of individual designer shows, a first for any Fijian fashion platform. The one runway was in the Britannia ballroom pre-function area for group shows and individual shows.

This gave the designer a preference of showing their collection either among other designers as a collective or commanding their own space, displaying a bigger collection with their own choice of aesthetics in their show space; Lava Lani opened her collection with two dancers setting the theme on the runway; Samson Lee’s models walked to the beat of a live Lali performance; AZA’s individual show featured models entering and exiting a stunning visual background of the Taj Mahal.

The most important international fashion shows take place in the four fashion capitals: New York, Milan, Paris and London. Having two fashion seasons a year, the shows only feature independent shows by various designers, where they are free to choose their own location, decor, models and seating arrangements.

An iconic example is the late Karl Lagerfeld, an innovative fashion designer that who always took his shows to extreme levels, having shown his Chanel collections in gran- diose sets designed to look like surreal bras- series, airport terminals and supermarkets, even going as far as turning the Great Wall of China into a runway for the 2007 Fendi show, blurring the line between catwalk and everyday life.

The late Alexander McQueen turned his shows into a fusion of theatre and fashion, transforming his runways into human chess- boards and huge wind tunnels.

Zendaya collaborated with Tommy Hilfiger at Paris Fashion Week this year, a show celebrating black culture in a 70’s disco theme, paying homage to legendary women of colour who changed legacies with a runway of models of all sizes and ages.

Our decision of introducing individual shows to Fiji was made imminent by the festival’s mission of focusing on growing fashion business contribution to the overall economic output of the country.

We firmly believe local designers and the Fijian fashion industry has the potential to follow this format to expand their brand and success.

Chairperson of the Fashion Council of Fiji and Show Director of Fijian Fashion Festival, Faraz Ali, said: “Change is inevitable, and a way of life in the fashion industry.

The council believes that the festival needs to adopt this dynamism in its approach in order for it to be effective for the designers, and broader industry stakeholders.

Excellence is the key word across all we do, and we believe that to be excellent we have to change, grow, and respond to the needs of designers.

The fact is that in order to have a global standard, aspirational platform, the format needs to change. We have been doing group shows since the beginning of Fijian fashion in the 1960s, and it is now time to change. The majority of designers engaged in fashion business today need individual shows to brand themselves effectively, and to engage with their market more strongly and effectively.

The festival team is excited and proud to be bringing a real, global level fashion event to Fiji for the first time.

During the festival’s launch in December 2018, we announced that our second year will feature three separate runways in various locations around the Grand Pacific Hotel, another first for any Fijian fashion event; The Runway, in the Britannia ballroom pre- function area, The Skyway, the second floor balcony of the GPH’s main heritage building and The Waterway, the pool area, for resort and swimwear shows.

Acting as a team member and model in the previous year made it an exciting challenge to perform well in both parts, and taking on the same roles again this year with two extra runways will be great.

The two years I’ve been involved with the Fijian Fashion Festival have been life changing. Not only have I learnt and grown so much personally, but being trusted with a leadership role at a young age with little experience is thrilling and nerve wrecking.

“I am fortunate to be part of a true fashion revolution that values diversity, inclusivity and excellence, and is not just said but practiced by my team through all aspects to our models.

This platform includes everyone, ensuring MSMEs are the focus and development of the creative arts industry as the primary goal, and I couldn’t be prouder to be part of the future. The future is truly here.”

Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus