Fiji Fashion Week launches with a focus on sustainability

Ellen Whippy-Knight and the Fiji Fashion Week team. PHOTO: Asvin Singh/FJFW

Fiji Fashion Week 2022 (FJFW22) promises to be a year of fashion with a purpose, as it celebrates its 15th anniversary.

“This is the first year that we are focusing on fashion sustainability. The strange thing about sustainable fashion is that it is expensive, and our designers cannot afford it. They will have to switch from print to digital printing, which is an expensive exercise,” says Fiji Fashion Week Managing Director, Ellen Whippy-Knight. “We will try to talk to designers about how they make their garments.”

The move towards sustainable fashion comes almost nine years after the Rana Plaza disaster in Savar, Bangladesh that killed more than 1130 people and injured more than 2000 others. That tragedy increased the demand for more ethically-designed and produced clothing, and prompted campaigns such as Fashion Revolution’s #WhoMadeMyClothes.

“To celebrate the future of our industry, we need to understand that everything we do needs to be for the sustainability of our planet and income,” says Whippy-Knight.

“In doing so, we will preserve our cultural heritage in making fashion.”

FJFW22 office partner, Colgate-Palmolive says this year’s theme, ‘Sustaining our Culture, Making our Future and Celebrating’, echoes the company’s values.

Colgate-Palmolive General Manager, Hiten Lal, said, “At the heart of Palmolive is creativity, innovation, inclusiveness, and sustainability.”

Whippy-Knight says to commemorate the start of its 15-year milestone, Fiji Fashion Week has prepared a programme designed to not only educate designers and the public about sustainable fashion, but to ensure that wherever you turn while walking around Suva City, their presence is felt. “The programme is a new look for us and one that is packed with exciting events,” says Whippy-Knight.

Imagine a live demonstration of designers dressing and sewing clothes when you walk past Tappoos, or a hairdresser at a home competition using Palmolive’s products, bringing out your inner stylist, or a window dressing competition where all participants create window displays along the Suva retailers’ corridor, a fashion pop-up and much more.

The program kicks off on March 20 with a student designer competition representing the “Future of Fashion” and ends on May 28 with their FJFW22 Resort Lux Runway, and is sure to bring back the buzz that Suva is known for.

Ensuring that no one is left behind, fashion education includes training on fashion tourism and fashion media development, a unique opportunity to gain knowledge in the field of fashion to better report on it.

The event will include international speakers, educators, and fashionistas as they flock to Suva and the home of FJFW22, the Grand Pacific Hotel.