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Taking Fiji fashion global — here's how

Diana Goulding
Sunday, January 14, 2018

Fiji Fashion Week will open 2018 with an International Business in Fashion Workshop titled Made in Fiji — New Horizons — Going Global that will kick off the New Year for aspiring Fijian designers with hopes and dreams of making a mark on the global fashion industry.

The core team at Fiji Fashion Week, Fiji's pre-eminent fashion promoter and FJFW producer, are proud to showcase three top fashion industry professionals from Australia who are each outstanding in their field. Together they are offering a free full three-day workshop from Wednesday, January 17 to Friday, January 19 at the National Productivity and Training Centre (NPTC), Nabua Campus from 8.30am to 6pm.

This will be one of the most definitive and valuable business training highlights on the Fiji fashion industry calendar for 2018. It's a timely exploration and teaching proven methods to manage some of the complexities of doing business globally in the rapid-moving multi-billion dollar industry. This is a natural extension of the exciting industry evolution that the internationally recognised Fiji Fashion Week events have successfully spear-headed over the past decade promoting over 500 designers, reaching a collective audience of over 100,000 patrons, introducing fashion weeks in other Pacific nations, embracing Fiji's unique culture and creativity, taking Fiji fashion to Los Angeles and Sydney as well as garnering hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of international media coverage via Fashion TV, regular exclusive guest fashion photographer Sonny Vandevelde and other media outlets, including Fiji media.

Presenters of this three-day free workshop include Nicholas Huxley headteacher Fashion Design Studio at TAFE (technical and further education) of NSW. Mr Huxley is a highly respected educator and Australian fashion industry figure, who has taught a dazzling roll-call of established designers such as Akira Isogawa, Alex Perry, Dion Lee and Nicky Zimmerman to name a few of the many.

Also presenting are well-established fashionistas such as Fiona Lloyd, the director of Fashion Network with expertise specialising in the business of fashion training, as well as Phoebe Garland a fashion agent and influential fashion blogger.

Organisers are urging those interested to register as soon as possible to avoid disappointment, as space is limited.

"The desired outcome of this three-day workshop is to ensure Fiji designers have a brand that not only empowers their SMEs (small to medium enterprises) but gives them 'best-practice' tools to win international attention and write up some orders hence also proudly promoting the Made In Fiji - Buy Fiji brand and ethos.

Fiji Fashion Week Ltd managing director Ellen Whippy-Knight was inspired to invite the three Australian presenters to put this workshop together after attending the highly anticipated annual International Sourcing Expo in Sydney, Australia with the Fiji Trade Commission in November 2017 where she was instrumental in promoting the participation of five designers from Fiji.

This fashion industry expo attracts global manufacturers, suppliers, exporters, industry associations, trade commissions and export bodies and agents. Such an expo both geographically and content-wise overall provides accessibility for a strong participation from Fiji, enabling the designers themselves to be present in the future.

"At the expo it was a privelege to receive valuable, constructive and real-time feedback from a wide spectrum of professionals at the top of their game in such a fast moving global industry," said Mrs Whippy-Knight.

"I am an avid believer in the talent and hard workers of Fiji. I know our fashion designers can deliver and develop further by ironing out a few kinks, refining our work and overall presentation.

It's vital to apply attention to detail in every aspect to lift our game on the international stage!

"The southern hemisphere already provides unlimited opportunities and a friendly environment to nurture Pacific talent and prepare for further afield territories such as Europe, the US, Russia or the Arab Emirates for example.

"It is vital that our designers are given the strongest possible foundation and not be sent into the highly competitive 'lions den' of environments such as London, without solid grounding and protection of the intellectual property of their unique designs and armed with product with the best possible craftsmanship that represents Fiji."

The workshop will focus on the key areas in need of continuing refinement, such as design development, fabric selections, improved quality in production, bringing cohesiveness to a collection of work to "tell a story" create a "journey", developing more unique silhouettes (the cut of a garment) and overall styling, how to deal with retail outlets, fashion agents, media, marketing, selling and most importantly — allow the Fiji flavour to flourish in fashion. There is room to strike a pose alongside the existing, established and iconic global brands of Fiji such as Fiji Water, Pure Fiji, Tourism Fiji and of course our Fiji sevens Olympians. There is also a place waiting for Fijian designers of tomorrow.

It is widely agreed that there is a vital need to run such a workshop to prepare designers on how to take a professional approach to meet global standards and fill the gaps to make a viable commercial business and to strive for excellence from their exciting raw talent and vision.

The workshops will engage learners and provide knowledge and practical activities, giving them clear understanding of the commercial value and practical business strategies to succeed in the fashion industry at home and abroad.

* For more information, register by Monday, January 15 by email to or on the Fiji Fashion Week Facebook page or call 7088892.

* Diana Goulding manages all FJFW's public relations. The views expressed are not of this newspaper.

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