The ‘Last King of Fashion’

“I was bullied from the day I took on this role. I was the youngest chairperson of the council, maybe even the youngest leader of any industrial association in Fiji,” Mr Ali said.
01 Mar 2020 12:41
The ‘Last King of Fashion’
Faraz ‘Fuzz’ Ali.

The King of Fashion, Faraz ‘Fuzz’ Ali’s five-year journey was bumpy, but he managed to pave his way to smoother roads.

“I was bullied from the day I took on this role. I was the youngest chairperson of the council, maybe even the youngest leader of any industrial association in Fiji,” Mr Ali said.

The former Fashion Council chairperson, Faraz Ali, said that his age made people uncomfortable and the self-claimed social media critics held nothing back when it came to him being ridiculed at any given chance.

“Everything from my age, my ethnicity, my sexuality, my family, my character has been dragged on social media.

“Some sectors have vilified me simply because I wanted to revolutionise what we had because I felt like we needed it,” he said.

Fuzz, at just 27 years old was appointed the leader of the Fashion Council of Fiji in 2015.

Despite the negativity, Fuzz received many lovely messages and comments of support online as well throughout his term as chairman.

“Obviously, I’m older now with a few lines on my face that don’t go away, and with those lines comes wisdom to know that you aren’t going to make everybody happy.”

Being the best

Fuzz was given the title of ‘The King of Fashion’ in the industry.

“It is very flattering that people see me like that, and I don’t mean to insult anybody who has attempted to compliment me by calling me that. However, I have always maintained that we must create a network of leaders in our industry so that we have a sustained network support of the industry.

“The idea of a King or Queen is so permanent, and the entire identity of the organisation or industry can end up hanging on that one person, and as I’ve said before, the institution, and the industry, must always be bigger than the individual,” he explained.

His first priority in the five years of his reign was for the Fashion Council to be recognised as a legitimate representative organisation in the industry; which he did!

He planned to let go of his role as the chairperson once the institution was strong enough and felt comfortable handing it over to another viable candidate.

“I always planned to let go of my role as chairperson once the institution was strong enough, and once I felt comfortable handing it over. I did not want to spend so much of my life investing in something just to see it crumble once I walked away.”

Moving on

The King of Fashion, Fuzz believes that five years is enough time for one leader to establish his or her goals.

“Five years is really the maximum time to lead an industry. People may disagree, and that’s fine, but I really feel like the more years I stayed beyond what I have done would have been robbing my successor of their time to lead with their own vision, direction, and goals for the industry,” he said.

“My goal was to beat down doors and for people to take us seriously, and they do now. My successor’s goals may be different. So, in short, it was a carefully considered decision, and I wouldn’t have let go if I didn’t think that my successor and the new team were up to the job.”

He nominated his successor, a friend, Andrew Powell, alongside a new executive board whom he believes will lead the industry into a new era with a greater vision in mind.

“I have complete faith in Andrew to lead this council and the industry into a new era. He is intelligent, capable, and has an abundance of humility. I am throwing the full weight of my support behind him and the council. I can’t wait to see what he will achieve!”

Handing in his resignation as chairman in December last year, Fuzz will now be dividing his time between Suva and Sydney, Australia, as he seeks to broaden the scope of the Pacific creative sector.

With his resignation made official on February 17, he has taken up the role as editor of the Australian men’s fashion and lifestyle site, Rogue Homme, and at the same time, he will seek opportunities to grow his fashion businesses to larger fashion centres in Sydney, New York and London.

“I just want to grow and expand personally and explore this new season of life completely,” he said.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: jennis.naidu@fijisun.com.fj

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