A top fashion designer, Rupi Taitu’uga Rokeni, has sacrificed the trip of a lifetime to China for his 73-year-old mother, Fa’amomoi.
Today, Mr. Taitu’uga should have been among 32 members of the local fashion industry who are in China to learn from garment and fashion industry experts there.
But he knows that nothing matters more than family.
So when his elderly mother pleaded for him to stay, he did not think twice.
The decision was a tough one though.
Mr. Taitu’uga said he had been looking forward to the trip for a long time.
“lt was Thursday night before our final meeting with the Chinese Ambassador that a sign was revealed to me from my mother during our sleep that I finally made up my mind to stay."
“The fact is; she didn’t want me to go. Not this time.”
Rupi needs no introduction to Samoa. A top fashion designer, he is master of bold prints, bright colours and embellished designs.
“lt was sad to see the team I was supposed to be with departing Faleolo Airport on Monday with lots of excitement and expectations,” he said.
“One of the hardest decisions I have ever made and it took me three weeks since l received the invitation to decide whether I should consider the trip over my mother.”
He believes that it was an opportunity not to be missed.
“But the two weeks seminar and the travelling time will surely make up to 3 weeks and that is quite a long time for me away from my mother."
“l believe in my heart that there will always be lots of other opportunities in the future but l only have one mother and I do not want to regret losing her while l'm away.”
He also thanked Samoan government and China for the opportunity given.
“What an opportunity for local fashion designer to travel abroad to share the knowledge and ideas, and most of all, the quality of products."
Rupi’s Entrepreneurial savvy has made him a household name and an inspirational in the local and international fashion designing circles and his decades of experience have earned him the right to be hailed as Samoa's highly acclaimed award winning fashion designer.
lt has taken him years of hard work, multiple trips to fashion shows overseas and countless challenges to be where he is today.
But underneath all that glamour, he remains humble, self-effacing and calls himself as “a low profile kind of person".
So what is your advice to aspiring designers?
“Not only that but we have to learn from people who have tried and failed and tried and succeeded. Take risks and don’t take things personally."
“We should have a clear focus and message and always keep that in mind as you develop your designs, the fact is, you can never please everyone but putting your own stamp on everything is what makes the product unique.”