FIJI may soon be producing garments like those worn by the British Royal, Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Kathryn Middleton and which created worldwide fashion history.
The designer of what is now nicknamed the ‘Kate Middleton dress’, Ellena Tavioni (pictured) of Cook Islands design house TAV Resort wear, told Fiji Fashion Week it has always been a dream of hers to produce her famous designs here.
Fiji Fashion Week Managing Director, Ellen Whippy-Knight said TAV would be the finale at the Tribe Echoes of the Pacific night – which opens Fiji Fashion Week 2012. Ms Whippy-Knight said it was an exciting recognition not just for the garment industry but also for the Fiji fashion community to be able to facilitate the development of Pacific fashion this way.
“TAV have just confirmed their participation in the opening night of FJFW 2012 so those coming to our opening night will be in for quality fashion design. It will be an exciting night!” Ms Whippy-Knight said.
“Ms Tavioni has been a regular feature of the past two years of FJFW and so we always knew the chances of her coming back were high but we are still very excited that in the middle of what is probably her busiest week, Ellena would still work things out to be able to show her garments on the Suva runway.”
The TAV Rarotonga factory which employs 20 people have been inundated with orders following the royal ‘endorsement’ and Ms Tavioni says it was the catalyst needed to help her realize a long term dream.
“I have always wanted to make garments in Fiji. Fiji’s garment factories are good for ready to wear kind of outfits, they have the infrastructure, they have the trained people and they have an exciting fashion community,” Ms Tavioni said. “I have been in contact over the years with several big factories there, Unitex, Mark One Apparel, Jacks; there are several options but it is happening for sure.”
Acclaimed NZ designer, Annah Stretton has also expressed desire to meet with local garment manufacturers, confirming the very real business opportunities that will be fostered during Fiji Fashion Week.
TAV has shops in Hawaii, Samoa, Cook Islands and New Zealand but new markets have opened for the label in Japan and it is for production for the Asia region that Ms Tavioni looks to Fiji for.
“I’m not looking at any other country in the region. Fiji has the most established of the region’s manufacturing industries and your textile, clothing and footwear (TCF) community can handle Pacific fashion. I am very excited that I can finally do this,” Ms Tavioni said.
“What Princess Kate did was amazing and we have just been very excited here in Raro but I am more excited for the Pacific as a whole. I want designers, tailors, everyone in the Pacific fashion industry to see this as exciting and amazing for all of us. Unlike other countries, fashion in the Islands is a cottage industry – I mean we are printing and sewing the way our forefathers were, it is a natural thing we are doing and to have this recognised on the world stage is just absolutely amazing.”
Ms Whippy-Knight said opening and closing a fashion night is a privilege that only the best in fashion get to have so ‘Tribe Echoes of the Pacific’ opens with Fiji’s very own Robert Kennedy and TAV will close.
Ms Tavioni describes her 20 garment collection as a fusion of the new with the bold prints and designs which have become synonymous with her label.
“TAV will be bringing resort wear again but this time we will show a fusion of something new. Our fans should know there will be jackets, there will be garments you can wear on a plane, to work and to dinner – our new collection is going to be versatile and made with natural fibers like linen and silk,” Ms Tavioni said.


For more information, please contact Lice Movono-Rova on +679 9301201/7088819  or email lice@fijifashionweek.com.fj

About FJFW

Fiji Fashion Week is an annual event aiming to foster fashion design and creativity.  Through a series of shows FJFW offers Pacific designers a marketing platform to promote their garments.  FJFW fosters small businesses particularly emerging designers from our Pacific region to become commercially minded.  By supporting FJFW you are supporting these small-business owners.  FJFW is from 18th to 20th October and tickets are available from the Fiji Fashion Week booth on the ground floor of MHCC, by emailing tickets@fijifashionweek.com.fj or by calling Lite on 7088896.


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