THE US Embassy in Suva hopes to bring more designers in for Fiji Fashion Week because it is an opportunity for local students of design to learn American fashion standards.
Joseph Crook, the embassy's public affairs officer, said the embassy was thrilled to support the participation of US designer LaQuan Smith at Fiji Fashion Week 2012 because it was an opportunity for a learning exchange.
LaQuan, who has designed outfits for music stars Lady Gaga and Rihanna, is from New York City, which is considered by many as one of the fashion capitals of the world. According to the embassy, NYC retailers generate more than $15billion in sales and $768 million in tax revenue annually.
"From 2012 to 2015, it is projected that employment at NYC clothing and accessories stores will increase by 17 per cent. We hope LaQuan's participation in this yearly event will encourage future collaboration between fashion designers in the Pacific region and US-based fashion designers," Mr Crook said.
The embassy is one of three diplomatic missions that have supported Fiji Fashion Week 2012 by sponsoring visits by top designers. "This is a first for the US Embassy to bring in a designer to be part of the Fiji Fashion Week events and we hope this certainly will not be the last. And we hope this will be a great opportunity for students to interact, exchange ideas and learn from an American designer of such calibre," Mr Crook said.
LaQuan told the Fiji media that some of his spring collection, which he is bringing to Fiji Fashion Week, was inspired by Fiji and the Pacific. He will feature in the LICI established designers show on October 19 alongside designers from India, Australia, New Zealand and the best of Fiji's fashion industry.
He will also be part of the first ever Fiji Fashion & Design Forum, an event sponsored and hosted by the Fiji National University which will bring together 300 people to an all expenses paid educational forum to discuss various aspects of the fashion industry.
LaQuan, whose own rise to success is an inspirational story, is speaking on 'the truth about being successful in the fashion industry. What many won't tell you'.
His audience will be home economics, fashion design, textile, clothing and footwear design students and fashion designers.
* Lice Rova is the Fiji Fashion Week public relations officer.