Fiji Times article by MATILDA SIMMONS | 4 July, 2018
AT 21, Alipate Sowane has shown what he can do with the amazing talent he has.
We met the Tubou, Lakeba, Lau native at The House of Design Fiji shop in Suva earlier this week, where he works part-time while he completes his final year at the Fiji School of Nursing (FSN).
It’s a place where he dabbles with various design ideas while at the same time better his work.
“From a young age, I have always been very artistic. I like to draw and paint so I’m not surprised I started designing later. I entered a few small art and fashion competitions throughout my high school years, but it wasn’t until I started working part time at the House of Design Fiji when I got serious about it,” he said.
The cosy boutique shop is hidden among the array of coffee shops and other clothes designer shops at the QBE Arcade in Suva. It’s a shop that is a world of its own; showcasing various crafts and cloth designs done by designers like Alipate.
“I have been working here for a couple of months and being here has truly exposed me to the fashion industry,” he says as he walks around the small shop.
“I’ve grown to love this place and it has become almost a part of me.”
Alipate showcased his collection called ‘PATE’ at the Bottega Gold Fijian Fashion Festival early this year and it has raised eyebrows among the audience. His clothes strikes you for its chic look and dark colours.
“Putting together the collection was something that took a lot of planning and preparation was intense,” he said.
“It took months of preparation, from being part of the events team and taking part as a designer was a great experience and I’m happy that I was surrounded with the right people who were so supportive of me and the passion I have.”
His collection is inspired by a comic strip (which he created) called “The Hidden People.”
It’s a fictional story of elves that have themes like the importance of self-acceptance, freedom and passion — qualities which he draws inspiration from.
“Each of the piece I showcased this year was based on one of the characters from the story. The clothes are for anyone, it’s fun, edgy and I want the clothes to impact the people that wear them. And make them feel good about themselves, like they can do anything.”
For now Alipate is finishing his last year as a nursing student. “It’s something I started and I might as well finish it,” he said with a smile.
“I am also looking at enrolling into APTC for a training course in fashion design.
“To be able to put a collection together for a world standard show like the Bottega Gold Fijian Fashion festival was an amazing experience. I got to showcase my debut collection next to some of Fiji’s best designers and it was an incredible experience, I also learnt so much from the people around me throughout the journey.
“I would like to see more young designers to not just look at designing as something that’s fun and dramatic; not that it’s not, it is fun but it can also be a good business. I’m grateful that shows like the Bottega festival are all about the development of small to medium enterprises. I hope that in future, more young designers come up and make a business out of their talents.
“If you are a very young designer and you want to move into fashion, then go for it. Do not be afraid. You can do it, you just have to work hard, be at the right place at the right time and surround yourself with a good group of people that will always support you,” he said with finality.
TONGAN Summer and Winter Olympian Pita Taufatofua arrived in the country yesterday morning to be a part of the Bottega Gold Fijian Fashion Festival this weekend. Taufatofua has been in the spotlight since walking in the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics all oiled up and muscles bulging. He repeated that at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics opening ceremony last February. Meanwhile, proceeds from this local fashion show will go towards helping the Loloma Foundation in its projects. According to the organisation, they were overwhelmed and grateful to be the beneficiary of the inaugural Bottega Gold Fijian Fashion Festival charity dinner. “This is the first time that the Loloma Foundation will receive a contribution from the community in Fiji and humbly thank the chairman, Faraz Ali, and trustees of the Fiji Fashion Council for this initiative,” the organisation stated. “Funds received will be used to pay for the return travel of patients from the Yasawa Group to Taveuni — two boat trips and domestic travel from Nadi to Suva and return, for the payment of licences for the doctors’ to be registered and practise in Fiji.”
Fiji Times article by NICOLETTE CHAMBERS | 30 May, 2018
THE Bottega Gold Fijian Fashion Festival is ready to offer a unique fashion platform for Fiji and the region.
This was highlighted by the chairperson of the Fashion Council of Fiji and trustee of the Bottega Gold Fijian Fashion Festival, Faraz Ali, earlier this afternoon.
Mr Ali said it would be the first fashion platform of its kind both for Fiji and the region.
“The festival is a revolution in our industry, introducing a new generation of fashion, where business and human development takes centre stage,” he said.
“Truly devoted to the ideals of diversity, inclusivity, and excellence, as well as committed to growing fashion industry’s to the broader national economy.”
The festival will officially begin with its Loloma Foundation Charity Dinner at the Grand Pacific Hotel (GPH) in Suva tomorrow.
The two-day fashion show will commence on Friday and end on Saturday at the GPH.
Fiji Times article by NICOLETTE CHAMBERS | 1 June, 2018, 7:30
TONGAN flag bearer for the 2016 Olympics and 2018 Winter Pita Taufatofua is in the country as a model for the country’s newest fashion platform – the Bottega Gold Fijian Fashion Festival.
Taufatofua, who is widely known for his appearance at the opening ceremony for the 2016 Summer Olympics, arrived in Fiji this morning.
And he said that he has already loved the Fijian hospitality.
“I’m expecting everyone to have a good time and for us to be able to present ourselves in a way that’s leader-focused, that we are presenting the best of us and not just copying and not just following,” he said.
Taufatofua said he was looking forward to the two-day fashion show which commences today at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva.
“My heart has already melted even before we started the show and it reminds me of how it important it is for us here in the Pacific to present ourselves to the world,” he said.