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Fiji Time: 11:31 PM on Thursday 18 September

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Dance group out to revive identity in garments

Torika Tokalau
Wednesday, May 28, 2014

RAKO Pasefika has made their mark in the dance and music scene but come Friday night, their fashion label Rako Designs will be making their debut on the runway of the Fiji Fashion Week in the Emerging Designer show.

Rako Pasefika's artistic director Letila Mitchell said they never really thought they would venture out to garments.

"We never actually thought to do it as a separate entity because it was part of our dance and music, after our shows our audience would ask us where to buy our costumes so we thought of branching out to designing," Ms Mitchell said.

She said Rako Designs would prove to be a good income stream for their artists because performing in dance and music was only restricted to certain times and occasions.

"A lot of them are amazing printers and jewellery makers. We launched Rako Designs in Sydney at the beginning of this year and we will launch the fashion side at Fiji Fashion Week."

Rako Designs is all about natural fibres, with cotton and linen and they have also worked with Vau shells.

"All of our prints are unique — with Rotumans, we've lost a lot of our symbology, it is totally gone so what we are trying to do is slowly revive the identity.

"For us, it's really an extension of our dance. We try to have our pieces move well with Pacific persons — garments that will look good on a small body and a big body, that's what we look to achieve."

She said research with elders of the Rotuman community had helped them in their designs.

Rako Designs will be opening the Emerging Designers show.