There is no doubt about it. Samoa has a lot to offer when it comes to fashion. This includes colourful varieties of traditional wear, extraordinary, modern apparel and everything in between.
While neighbouring islands like Fiji already have set foot in the glamorous world of fashion with events like the annual Fiji Fashion Week, the Samoan archipelago has been lacking behind in this regard.
But things are about to change. It starts next Saturday with the inaugural Samoa Sinnet Fashion Show scheduled at the newly opened Taumeasina Resort in Apia. When the bright lights go on and the models hit the catwalk, the country will finally have its very own fashion event.
Enid Westerlund, the Fashion Show’s Director and the woman behind the event, said the Show is not just about showing the newest dresses in front of an international audience.
“Samoa Sinnet Fashion Show is a coming together of the fashion industry in Samoa,” she says.
“But it’s not just showcasing clothing and designers, but also photographers, bloggers, models, just anyone who is part of the fashion industry, including artists, singers and dancers.”
Ms. Westerlund was speaking during a press conference yesterday where she spoke about her desire to bring people together and showcase the best of Samoa to the world.
“I did not study fashion nor did I go to fashion school. But in 2012, I started a project with the members of church youth, printing simple Lava Lavas,” she says.
For Ms. Westerlund, who is originally coming from the field of air transport, this first project laid the foundation for her own company, called “Enara.”
“[We] manufacture bags, clothing and […] handmade jewellery.”
But Ms. Westerlund wanted more for the Samoan world of fashion, with the idea in mind that, there is no good reason why Samoa should not start to promote its own fashion in the country.
“I am very honoured to serve Samoa this way. Every Samoan should have a patriotic and artistic bone in their body. We are a very talented, stylish and creative Island […] which is not afraid to showcase art.”
“I know that Samoa has never done anything comparable, and this is just on a different calibre.”
That is the reason for the show’s organisation team to have chosen the just newly opened Taumeasina Resort as the most suitable venue for their show.
“The resort is new as well, so this is a good way for us to promote the country’s tourism sector as well, and together with our support for local artists, that is what we’re aiming for.”
According to Ms. Westerlund, fashion fans in Samoa can be curious to witness the work of thirteen different designers, ranging from local student designers up to well-established ones from overseas, whose works cover more than 120 outfits on the event’s evening.
These outfits will be presented in different categories, including “casual and everyday wear, evening wear and accessories. Our aim is to launch emerging artists”, explained the organiser, who also warrants the appearance of different modelling agencies from fashion shows in Australia and New Zealand for the evening.
Besides of all the pomp and glamour on the catwalk, the show will also serve a good cause.
“This will be a charity event. We’re hoping to donate a total amount of 15,000 worth of products to the children’s hospital.”
The event’s actual outcome will also include the foundation of what Enid Westerlund calls a “Young Artist Foundation”, where “young people […] who don’t know anything about fashion can learn about the starting process of a business and how to use art to earn a living with it”.
For Enid Westerlund and her team, the process of putting together an event of the size of Sinnet Fashion Show was anything far from easy, especially given the fact that they were more than short of time.
“Usually, the organisation of a fashion show takes about six months of time and we only had six weeks. If you can spot any grey hair on my head, it is because of this show.
“It’s a situation full of pressure, but it’s also a good challenge, especially with all the support of our sponsors in our back. In the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if the show will flop or succeed because at least we tried. I mean, we started something that can be simply bigger than us.”
The event is supposed to be an annual event in the future if it will fulfil its expectations, which is most likely going to happen, since one of the biggest fans of the show is the Samoan government itself: Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, who will be opening Sinnet Fashion Show on the 16th of July at Taumeasina Resort, will most likely wear one of the outfits presented within the event, showing the governmental support for Samoa’s fashion world.