‘Keep weaving alive’

Pariticipants of the Fiji Fashion Week workshop observing the details of a courture dress designed by renowned Kiwi designer Shona Tawhiao at the FNU Nabua campus in Suva yesterday. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

IT is important that traditional weaving techniques in Fiji are kept alive for the future generation, says New Zealand weaver and fashion designer Shona Tawhiao.

Ms Tawhiao conducted a training for about 30 weavers and fashion designers in Suva yesterday in the lead-up to this weekend’s Fiji Fashion Week (FJFW) 2019.

She has been in the fashion industry for more than 25 years and has exhibited her unique style of traditional Maori raranga weaving techniques and methods in fashion festivals across the globe.

She said the fusing of her love of fashion with her specialised abilities had enabled her to create haute couture from flax fibre known to Maori as harakeke.

This has resulted in her unique style being dubbed “harakeke couture”.

“It’s really interesting to see that the Maori and Fijian weaving are similar,” she said.

“We are all weavers and I want to inspire them to keep the weaving culture in Fiji alive, I’ve been doing this for more than 25 years.

“In New Zealand, our forefathers used to make clothes and sails from weaving with flax fibre. I am excited to be here to train Fiji women what they do out of weaving apart from mats.”

Ms Tawhiao said she was thrilled to see similarities between the traditional Fijian and Maori culture.

“It’s really important that the weaving culture is kept alive in Fiji for the future generation. This can be used to promote Fiji in the tourism industry, the products made out of traditional weaving.

“My advice for young women is for them to start hanging out with older ladies in their villages so that they gain knowledge in weaving.”

She said Fiji should start looking at adopting courses in traditional weaving similar to New Zealand where they were offered in degree levels.

The 2019 FJFW show will be held this Friday and Saturday.

A fashion photography workshop will be held tomorrow ahead of the CRUISE Resort Show on Friday and the Student Designer Show and the LUXE Resort show on Saturday.

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