Locals firms in collaboration to bring in Pacific designers
Local companies Life-Con and E.M.D. Company Limited are taking their third fashion show to a whole new level with the inclusion of prominent Pacific designers.
Consequently, Life-Con has rebranded it to LIFE-Con Pacific and is now scheduled to be held over two days from May 29 to June 1 this year.
This is according to Life-Con event director Kevin Schuster, in response to questions from the Samoa Observer, on what some are calling the biggest fashion event in the country.
Life-Con and E.M.D. Company Limited will collaborate with Emerging Artists Inc.; and Jandalmedia along with Cecilia Fashion House Samoa for the event according to Mr. Schuster, which is now into its third year.
“The marketing component of the event has made it a success and distinct from other events and this year’s expansion to the Pacific region and having it rebranded to LIFE-Con Pacific is one key distinct feature of LIFE-Con,” he said.
The event will see the participation of four Pacific designers: Sydney-based E’vana Couture, Exclusive by offdarock from American Samoa, Vizezio Bridal Couture of Auckland, New Zealand and Proton Creations from the Solomon Islands.
Mr. Schuster said the financial and in-kind assistance to one of the LIFE-Con Pacific’s designer in 2017 and 2018 enabled them to participate in the London Pacific Fashion Week last year.
The LIFE-Con Organizing Committee has also learnt a lot over the years, which he said is now being put into practice and is one of the key ingredients to their success to date.
“Some of the designers and participants we have worked with in the previous years have commented on the positive impact of the event to their businesses, brands and talents and its assured their return for Season three.
"And there is a definite change of mindsets towards marketing and advertising approaches given LIFE-Con’s full commitment to promoting the event and all Designers & Participants through high level marketing – this is one of the key deliverables of LIFE-Con & EMD." he added.
Mr. Schuster said there has been a lot of improvement since the inaugural event and they expect the same this year.
“The positive response from around the region as we have had interested designers from Fiji, Cook Islands, PNG, Nauru – hopefully they join next year. It’s all the marketing and communications that’s been going on that’s enabled this regional reach and interest.
Our Sponsors from the business community have been super kind over the years – they are the reason we have managed to get this ongoing – their ongoing support also has reassured that they are satisfied with all the return we are providing for them," he added.
But one of the biggest challenges of the event — since its establishment three years ago — is the difficulty in pleasing everyone.
“The main challenge I would say is the commitment to try and please everyone, especially there’s about 30 plus businesses involved meaning 30 plus bosses we deal with.
“We aim to please everyone or as many as we can because their participation is crucial to sustain the event in the coming years especially with the many plans in the pipeline to continue to take the event further.”
He also said raising the funding to finance the event is another major challenge but it is not new.
“As it is only through sponsorship from business community plus tickets sales that have funded everything from the start to now and furthermore, the mentality of some is still not quite in line with the objective and vision of the event.
“Partnerships formulation with Government Agencies and other institutions are one of the key areas LIFE-Con is looking at to develop in order to collaboratively work to take the fashion industry in Samoa and the pacific to the next level.
The partnerships with government agencies and donors can assist in upskilling our skilled resources to the standard expected in the International Export market,” he sadded.
When he was asked about their future plans, Mr. Schuster said there is more to come. These include hosting the event twice a year on Upolu and Savai'i.
“LIFE-Con Event to be done during tourism slow season as it will be more economical for the visiting designers and participants from around the Pacific. We anticipate top seek partners in America and other markets, for the possibility of running the event in those markets, especially where there’s a good statistics of Pacific Island people.
“Also we anticipate establishing LIFE-Con Pacific as an official body to afford the opportunity to attend other fashion events beyond the Pacific so it can attend to promote Pacific fashion brands collectively rather than individual.”
Furthermore, Mr. Schuster said he hopes to expand the LIFE-Con franchise and leasing the concept to other Pacific Islands for a certain fee, which he said are some of their long term goals.