An Island Icon
Fiji may not be the first country that comes to mind when thinking fashion shopping trip but Fiji has had a thriving fashion industry for over 50 years with the aforementioned designer boutiques, fashion governing bodies, design education, prestigious fashion events, top models and iconic brands.
Brands like NAINA. After graduating with a Diploma in Fashion Design from Sydney, Naina Sayed Khaiyum launched her eponymous label in the early 90s, hooked her fans and they have never let go of her.
Although now NAINA is known for its classic, clean lines that flatter all shapes, sizes and are loved by all ages, back then the Fiji fashion set went wild over her avant-garde cultural fusion creations.
“1991… I was a young woman straight out of fashion school so the creative juices were flowing. It wasn’t about making clothes that were commercially viable. It was all about letting all that creative energy pour out into designs in the new era of fashion on Fiji. This was a time when fashion shows were just starting put in a big way here so yes for someone like me, new in the industry and raring to go, it was a great time.”
Naina has firsthand experienced (and helped) the changes in the Fijian fashion industry, what has changed and what has stayed true?
“Fashion appreciation has grown in strides over the years here. With access to internet we have become more aware and cohesive as an industry and as consumers of global trends.
People in Fiji have always loved colour so most designers inject a lot of vibrant colours to their collections. I tend to work with neutrals though but with bursts of vibrancy!”
What is the NAINA look?
“My design ethos is about style rather than fashion, classic pieces rather than trends. I try to make clothes that don’t date, but I do include subtle hints of current trends in each collection so it appeals to the trend conscious as well as those who prefer classic pieces that have a longer closet life.”
“I tweak my classic bestsellers, ‘freshen’ them with current print and colour trends. I have signature styles, signature necklines etc, but I work with different fabrics that can change how a garment falls or how it is perceived. Eg palazzo pants in navy gingham for day or black satin for night.”
Who is the NAINA woman?
“She is every woman who is confident in her own skin. She loves to buy pieces she will keep for years. She values classic quality but loves doses of current global trends to refresh her ‘look’. The NAINA slogan is fabulous clothing for real women. The NAINA customer is a woman who dresses for herself, and most importantly, loves herself.”