INDIGENOUS designs take to the stage in the first-ever sulu and jaba fashion contest today.
And Fiji Fashion Week will offer prizes to sulu and jaba designers and help secure them a market for a steady source of income.
Fiji Fashion Week managing director Ellen Knight Whippy said the contest, sponsored by Crest Chicken, is the first of its kind.
"There is a need to put jaba into perspective for fashion garment since it is worn by 70 per cent of the women in Fiji," said Ms Whippy.
"This really is a design contest for the people. The sulu and jaba has such a wide appeal among the community and has a long tradition in Fiji."
Ms Whippy expects to see designers come up with a modernised and marketable jaba tomorrow.
"We want Fiji to be famous for our jaba and also make it a source of revenue and income for the designers. "People should know that income can be generated from fashion.
Shaun Joils, the general manager for Goodman Fielder, of which Crest Chicken is a subsidiary, said they were proud to be associated with such a fashion show that would give locals a platform to bring out their creative designs and modelling talents.
Entrants include a nine-year old entering her first design competition with a model as young as five. Judging the competition is a powerhouse panel of experienced designers such as Savitri Rae, Carolyn Ah-Koy, Miriama Namosimalua and Robert Verebasaga.
A cash prize of $500 will go to first place, along with $250 worth of Crest Chicken vouchers, Tappoo City vouchers and a Pure Fiji hamper.
Ms Whippy said second and third prize getters would also get similar prizes.
The program for the day begins at 10.30am on the Tappoo City 4th floor with the final scheduled for around 2pm.