Leap of faith pays off for Sofa'i

Pearl Passi Sheck of Sofa’i Creation cannot stop smiling. She has every right to be grateful, havng  achieved a great milestone in her career as a fashion designer. 

This follows her win after Samoa Fashion Week and securing a spot to participate in the Pacific Runway Fashion Show which will be held in Australia in three weeks time. 

The 44-year-old mother of seven immediately credits God for her success,

“I give all the credit to God,” said Pearl. “I didn’t do this; He did.That night was all about me giving back. "

“Talents are God’s gift for us, and using those talents is our gift to him. He gave us talents to use it and utilise it to the best of our abilities. And so on that night, I did my best with the talents God had instilled in me and my children, so we can give him back all the glory and praise, for He started the good work in me.”

Asked about how she started, Pearl said she started sewing when she was 15 years old. 

“My mum taught me how to sew and it was hard at first, but then I started to develop a strong passion for it and I never wanted to stop." 

“For Sofa’i Creation, we were mostly up in Pago, we moved to Samoa in 1991 and we started Sofa’i Creation. Sofa’i is my mother’s name. 

“The talent was passed down from my grandmother to my mother, my mother to me and my siblings, and then from me to my children. Even the boys sew, both boys and girls sew. It’s a family thing. Hopefully they will continue on with this family tradition.”

Pearl said sewing is her way of giving back to Samoa. 

“Especially when you see the smile on people’s faces when they wear your creation.  I love dressing the people of Samoa; it’s a beautiful feeling and very fulfilling.”

She entered the Samoa Fashion Week because she wanted people to see her work. 

“The reason why I wanted to give it a go was because I wanted people to see my work. People are used to seeing big names in the fashion industry like MENA’S, Cecilias Fashion House, Tulela; and I never asked for the lime light.  

“I entered the show because I thought that it was my time. So I challenged myself and I wanted to give it a try and see what people think of my work." 

“I wanted to give something for my children in the future. If there are hardships in life, this will be something for them to go back to", and said, “Mum did it, we can do it too.” 

“It was hard at first, especially struggling with my husband’s sickness, he was at the hospital at that time." 

“I also had so many orders at the time, and also tried to put together my creations for the show. It wasn’t easy. But I leaned on God and I asked him to help me out. I relied on him to give me strength to do it. 

“I also got a lot of help and support from some of my friends and my family, and I want to thank them for their ongoing support and their never ending love." 

On the night of the Fashion Show, Pearl said everything went well. And the results prove that. She dominated the awards with D.M.F.

Pearl said she also entered on behalf of the small sewing businesses in Samoa. 

“There are a lot of them in Samoa but they did not participate in the show. So the win was not just for me. I think they didn’t enter because of the time frame." 

“But I dedicate this win is to all of them.”

Pearl said having an opportunity to go to Australia is a dream she always had. 

“Australia was nothing but a dream for me,” she said. 

“I wanted to go and have a go at this runway. And again, it was something that I prayed to God to help me achieve. 

“And the Samoa Fashion Week has opened a door for me to take my work out of the country and showcase it in a big country like Australia. And I am really humbled and grateful to God for the opportunity.”

Where does Pearl draw her inspiration from?

“My inspiration comes from my mother; it comes from my family and the people that I love." 

“They motivate me keep moving forward, especially my children." 

“They bring colours to my life and light to my world. They make everything easy for me and they are my greatest inspiration.”

She also commended the Samoa Arts Council for the great initiative and for hosting the first ever fashion week in Samoa. 

“It’s a brilliant idea. It provided an opportunity for our local designers to showcase their work and also expose their talents. This is a great way to develop the fashion industry in Samoa." 

“I want to thank the Samoa Art Council and the organisers of the Fashion Show for their hard work and effort which made the show possible. It was the first time we had something like that, and I want to congratulate them for a job well done." 

“When Seiuli Alan Alo and Jackie Loheni approached me and asked me to participate in the fashion show, I thought they were joking. But then I thought it was a great way to showcase my work and so I put my hand to participate. I also want to thank the people who opened this door for us. It’s a great opportunity for people like us to showcase our work.” 

So what will she take to Australia for the Pacific Runway Fashion?

“I will be taking the Lord with me to Australia,” she replied. 

“He started this good work in him and I know that with him at the forefront, I will be able to complete it. He brought me this far and I know he will carry me through it all." 

“I am excited, happy and looking forward to it.”

 Moreover, Pearl thinks that the development of the fashion industry is getting stronger in Samoa. 

However, she believes that our government should also lend a hand and help develop the industry in Samoa. 

“It’s a powerful industry and a lot of people don’t know that this industry also contributes a lot to the economy of Samoa. This industry also helps promote our country to the rest of the world and it really helps out with the tourism industry in Samoa." 

“Hopefully the government will help us out to develop the fashion industry in the future.” 

What makes Sofa’i different from all the other fashion houses?

Pearl replied saying- “Everybody is born to be different. We are all unique in our own ways." 

“And I think that all the different fashion houses have their own different unique talents and designs.”

Lastly, she wants to encourage all the fashion designers to stand up and shine.

“A lot of other fashion designers are scared of the lime light." 

“And I want to encourage them to stand up and show the world the beautiful gift God has given you. Don’t let fear or anything else hold you back. Stand up, work hard and let God lead your way.”

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