The runway is still seen as having ‘made it’. That the applause at the end is what the goal is.
The preeminent fashion event is just a fashion party and there are far too many events run by people who have personal agendas.
Not denying these platforms aren’t fabulous. They’re fun for those who can afford to go to them, the tickets are very expensive!
Note to organisers, exclusive doesn’t mean expensive. First look at the quality of product and then its presentation. Fiji’s fashion industry suffers from a lack of funding and fundamental understanding about business.
Creativity isn’t the norm necessarily, so there’s much of a muchness. Lots of colour though, lots of pomp and ceremony and not much else. In 50 years of industry, not one designer from Fiji has gone on to achieve international acclaim nor even regional success. An addiction to tradition keeps everyone small and it doesn’t help that foreign interest is not investment, rather, exploitation.
Some do stand out. literally. Michael Mausio is very tall, majestic in manner. He is of Rotuman-Tuvaluan descent, an engineer but lest you think fashion is a side hustle for him, it’s one of his four businesses that he runs simultaneously. This is a man on a mission.
When he first started designing it was to showcase the concerns of climate change. As he told a local newspaper back in July 2011, “We notice things we wear, so if there was meaning to things we wear then maybe people will be more aware of climate change and its effects on our islands.”
Mausio has been busy since then, a recipient of the Asian Development Bank 30 under 30 Faces of Fiji award; founder of an engineering firm that specialises in energy and construction industries. Oh and he owns a travel agency that focuses on the education and medical sector and… a commercial farm. Small ponds breed multitasking fish.