Trade focus

Fashion Council of Fiji chairperson Faraz Ali with Victoria Wines director Kate Vusoniwailala at the naming partnership announcement of the Bottega Gold Fijian Fashion Festival in Suva last week.Picture: JONA KONATACI

Fashion Council of Fiji chairperson Faraz Ali with Victoria Wines director Kate Vusoniwailala at the naming partnership announcement of the Bottega Gold Fijian Fashion Festival in Suva last week.Picture: JONA KONATACI

MUCH excitement is building up towards the inaugural Bottega Gold Fijian Fashion Festival scheduled for June – a new and nascent initiative by the Fashion Council of Fiji.

This comes as the festival recently sealed a partnership with Bottega Gold, an international wine brand that has joined as the premium naming partners for the festival.

The partnership between the premium global brand and the new Fijian fashion platform is also a boost and a strong indicator towards the potential that the festival has in growing the creative sector in Fiji.

According to Fashion Council of Fiji chairperson Faraz Ali, the brand association culminates discussions between Bottega Gold, its local distributor Victoria Wines and the festival team since last November.

“The Fijian Fashion Festival is such an ambitious project and we are looking at creating a consumer trade platform that is committed to all the ideals of our naming partner in the excellence high quality and dedication to good service and to the highest brand of product,” Mr Ali said during the partnership announcement last week.

“It took time but all good things take time and we are so happy and grateful to Kate and her team at Victoria Wines for really advocating for us with Bottega.

“This partnership for us is about friendship and this is a strong friendship between two organisations that have the same goals.

“Bringing together some of the finest minds in our creative sector and as chairman of the Fashion Council of Fiji, I am particularly excited about the fact that a global brand of this magnitude and this quality has come on board.”

Victoria Wines director Kate Vusoniwailala also echoed similar sentiments about the partnership.

“As a dedicated wine importer in Fiji, we always had a focus on quality, doing things well and been supporting of the arts in terms of our sponsorship,” she said.

“And we’re also thrilled to coming on board with our wine partners Bottega Gold for this Fijian Fashion Festival.”

But being among the newest fashion initiatives in the county so far, Mr Ali remains steadfast in his focus on crafting and moulding the Bottega Gold Fijian Fashion Festival into a stylish elegant and creative consumer-trade platform.

This has also seen diversity, inclusivity and excellence at its core focus being embedded into the planning process of the festival.

“Essentially we sort of started from scratch, what we have done is we have looked at global successful shows but it’s not so much about the show being successful but the designers and stakeholders being successful,” Mr Ali said.

“It’s about ensuring that everyone that takes part and who is a part of the family of the Fashion Festival succeeds out of this.

“The festival really is all about diversity, inclusivity and excellence.”

At this stage, Mr Ali said they had closed their model listings which were being managed by Fijian turned international supermodel Phillipa Steele.

This was being finalised from the three model castings conducted in the recent months, one private casting by way of invite and two open public castings.

And keeping the focus of inclusivity in mind, the model cast also includes different categories which include models from the transgender and disabled communities.

According to Mr Ali, 23 Fijian fashion designers based both local and overseas — have been finalised for the show.

With the event planned for June 1 and June 2, 10 designers will be featured on Friday night, three for individual shows on Saturday during the day and the remaining 10 on Saturday night.

Mr Ali has also maintained the council’s stance of keeping the Fijian Fashion Festival heavily focused on trade.

This, he said, was evident in the layout of our floor plan of the venue to allow engagement in commerce on the runway.

“The dedication of two separate spaces one being larger than the other gives a very clear and immediate sort of visual understanding of where our focus is,” he said.

“So our focus is on trade and the other thing we are doing is all of the shows will be live streamed and a shop now feature for the diaspora community.

“We live in an age of fashion immediacy, everybody wants it now, and this is a global phenomenon and so what we are doing is we are keeping up with that.”

And adding to the excitement is the various events and workshops that have been organised by the Fashion Council of Fiji building up towards the festival. Tickets for the festival are expected to made available soon.

“We are well on track, the venue is at GPH, we are very lucky to have strong partners along with us,” Mr Ali said.

“It hasn’t been easy but it has been enjoyable.”