LOCAL designer Epeli Tuibeqa made his debut at the MHCC Fiji Fashion Week Echoes of the Pacific in Suva last night.
The 26-year-old from Rewa showcased 12 pieces from his Kabu ni Vanua (the mist of the land) collection.
Tuibeqa is not a stranger to designing as he has designed dresses for the Hibiscus Festival and South Pacific Pageant contestants.
"I wanted to challenge myself and show others that I can design outside of pageants and weddings," he said.
His collection featured men and women's clothing of contemporary, casual and resort wear, exposing a lot of skin.
"I am inspired by my heritage. I wanted my collection to promote not just tapa prints but my traditional Fijian culture as well.
"I wanted to have that same influence that Mena from Samoa and TAV from Cook Islands have in the Pacific communities with their traditionally inspired prints."
He said it was not easy getting his designs on the catwalk but the constant memory of his late grandmother Laisani Bale kept him going.
"If she was alive she would ask me what I was doing.
"She was my biggest critic. I know that she wouldn't agree with my designs, but I also know that she would be really proud of me tonight (last night)."