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Koila’s House

Scion of chiefly family turns fashion heads

KOILA Ganilau is descended from two of the most powerful households in Fiji – the Ganilaus from Somosomo, Cakaudrove and the Maras of Lakeba, Lau. Both families have connections to every conceivable branch of nobility in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Hawaii, Maohi (French Polynesia) and Aotearoa, New Zealand. But Ganilau is intent on branching away from the family firm and making a name for herself in the House of Koila under the fashion label Maramadina.

The business involves design of fabric, island wear, beach wear and Pacific fashion based on contemporary, original ideas using colour and flair. It’s not been easy. The business was born in 1991 with the gem of an idea gleaned from watching a bevy of beautiful aunts parade the catwalks of Suva in the late 1980s.

In 2007 Ganilau joined Jacks of Fiji as an in-house designer, taking with her the vision of the Maramadina label. “I’ll always be grateful to Jacks for that opportunity to create new designs and expose the label for people to see, appreciate and enjoy,” Ganilau said. Five turbulent years later after designing for others and a particularly rough domestic situation it was time to move out of the comfort of Jacks and into the competitive world.

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