Pacific Runway is Australia’s most prestigious and glamourous platform for Pacific origin fashion creatives. The event’s purpose is to draw attention to the burgeoning Pacific fashion industries and open dialogue about their potential influence on the global fashion stage, a possibility that was only a whispered rumour until Event Founder Jannike Seiuli started the conversation in 2012.
Since then Pacific Runway has grown to be a significant industry renowned showcase and a greatly anticipated social event for the Australian based Pacific diaspora.
2018’s show was hosted by Carriageworks on October 26th, as part of its annual program and its second major fashion event (Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia being its first), Pacific Runway’s consumer and industry popularity proves that the conversation has merit.
Pacific Runway is a living lookbook to proudly show that Pacific design is not just about “island print” and mermaid skirted gowns… Pacific designers, particularly PNG and Fijian designers, are producing resort wear collections that can be and are worn globally.
The 2018 show was a sold out event, beautifully opened with an Acknowledgement of Country and with much gratitude and humble pride in seeing pacific origin designers being celebrated for their creative talents.
The purpose of Pacific Runway is to one day see Pacific designers in non Pacific department stores and international boutiques.
Although (currently) primarily a general public event, Pacific Runway is attended by Australian and Pacific fashion and media industry personnel as well as high profile personalities and social media influencers.
Influencer and current face of Country Road Men, Jordan Turner said, “It was a spellbinding night of Pacific magic. Personalities, character, and culture (that Australia so often lacks) shone bright. It was a reminder that a runway is not just about fashion, but also about who is wearing your clothes.”
He added, “Seiuli has brought some of the most talented Pacific designers to the international forefront, and it makes me feel so proud of what the Pacific has to share. We need to watch Fijian designer Samson Lee, a highlight collection of the night.”
Another deeply appreciated highlight of the show is the multicultural runway. Diversity may be the fashion industry “trending” buzzword, but Pacific Runway shows that diversity is the norm.
Models from different backgrounds -primarily but not just Pacific- graced, strutted and tore up the runway, bringing to life each designer’s vision. It was a marvelous ‘shake-up’ for the Australian audiences who are not used to seeing actual diversity, or rather inclusivity on an Australian runway, and not just in skin colour but shape and size too.
Vogue Australia’s Sustainability Editor Clare Press said, “At Pacific Runway, the models also told a story, one of inclusion, diversity and a celebration of the female form that is not bound by a cultural expectation of either sameness or extreme skinniness.
These girls of all shapes and sizes exuded a joy and sass that’s often lacking on the catwalk. Note to the big fashion weeks: Seiuli’s casting directors are streets ahead.”
Pacific Runway is also a great opportunity for Pacific designers to demonstrate how (by using traditional methods and cultural influences) they are at the forefront of ethical and sustainability practices, another fashion industry hot topic.
Designers Sheenz (by Sheena Taivairanga) and Janet Laird Designs both create consciously, the former through deliberate ethical sourcing and the latter through recycling every day materials , hi-tech mesh turns out to be material a bit more down to earth ( (eg. Non slip rubber mats and lingerie wash bags).
In keeping with its platform of inclusivity and a mark of respect, each year Pacific Runway invites an Indigenous Australian designer to open the show. This year’s show was opened by luxury resort wear brand Kirrikin. Brand manager Kym Lester, said,
“The main obstacle is getting visibility in a complex, saturated market. Buyers and media no longer seek, they expect to be shown.
That is why the Pacific Runway is critical and why it is proving successful. Pacific Runway has carved its presence in the market representing Pacific Fashion. Pacific Runway is smashing down the obstacles and clearing the path for us all.”