Week of beauty and opportunities

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

There is no doubt about it. This is a very exciting time to be involved in the Fashion and Art industry in Samoa.  

And the launch of the inaugural Samoa Fashion Week by the Masiofo, Her Highness Filifilia Tamasese, at Hotel Tanoa Tusitala on Monday night is massive step in the right direction. 

The event follows another first for Samoa, the Samoa Sinnet Fashion Show held recently, opening doors for up and coming designers to showcase their work. 

This time, the more prominent and seasoned members of the industry are stepping up to the mark to show Samoa has what it takes to foot it with the best in the world on the runway. 

Who knows? This week could well be the launching pad for some of these designers to bigger events in New Zealand, Australia, Paris, London and New York. 

The sky certainly is the limit.

It’s absolutely undeniable that when it comes to designs, fashion and art, Samoa punches well above its weight. Our arts and patterns are meaningful. They are unique in the sense they tell the stories of our forebears. They speak of our journey as a people, a nation. 

Add our Samoan flair to the mix; the vibrancy and uniqueness in our designs have the potential to open doors to bigger and brighter prospects.

The only surprise is that the Fashion Week has taken this long to finally happen. With the talent, skills and the potential on these shores, the Show is indeed overdue. 

But better late than never.  So here we are in sunny Apia basking in the glow of a week dedicated to beauty and creativity by some of the most brilliant minds when it comes to fashion and art. 

The Fashion Week by the way is organised by the Samoa Art Council (S.A.C) in collaboration with the Pacific Runway Fashion Show in Sydney Australia.

Spearheaded by President of S.A.C, Seiuli Allan Alo, the idea is to take fashion in Samoa to another level. 

 “Samoa has in the recent years flourished in terms of well promoted, well marketed fashion houses,” said Seiuli. “There’s MENA, Cecilia’s, Peter Tamasese and Plantation House with Merita Wendt to name a few. These are some of the earlier fashion labels that have set the scene for fashion designing in. These style icons have undoubtedly been inspired by their Samoan environment and heritage.

“Today, more fashion houses are on the rise such as Mahealani’s Island Wear, Samoa Lokostyle, Kara’s Fashion and fashion boutique stores such as My Tiara’s Boutique, Janet’s of Samoa and Daphne’s. The flea market is also filled with fashion designs by small time entrepreneurs.”

But Seiuli said the Week is much more than just fashion.

“We’re looking at music, dancing, the media, visual arts, video production and others.”

The event also has outside backing from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (S.P.C), Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture (M.E.S.C) and other relevant ministries.

“This is where we look at all the different genres of the art to try and develop the arts and get it out in the market and to the international level. We need to standardise and benchmark those standards for us to compete in international forums.”

Elsewhere, Seiuli said the Week is an idea they want to grow for emerging designers.

 “There are so many talented young people who want to have a platform to design and show what they have. Yet, we don’t have that nationally.

“We also have so many pocketed fashion shows, the recent one is the Sinnet Samoa one and we are trying to centralise these pocketed fashion shows in a way that it covers everyone and not just individuals or a group of people. 

 “This is a very national opportunity to call all the fashion designers, all the models and all the supporters and the sponsors, educators and practitioners to come together and support this.”

With the event officially launched on Monday night, there are activities for the rest of the week. 

Starting yesterday, a Fashion Forum presented seasoned and emerging designers the chance to share ideas and dialogue on how they can improve their work.

There is also a Fashion Market Showcase starting tomorrow, giving members of the public – locals and visitors alike - an opportunity to check out what’s available in Samoa.

Lastly, the finale on Saturday will feature a Fashion Show at the Tanoa Swimming Pool featuring the work of 10 established designers and five emerging designers. 

One of the best things about this is that two designers will be chosen to accompany Cecilia and MENA to the Pacific Runway Fashion Show in Sydney Australia in October.

What a fantastic opportunity. Clearly this initiative is already a winner. But this is just the beginning. Let’s pray for better and bigger successes for Samoa.

Have a great Wednesday Samoa, God bless!

© Samoa Observer 2016

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