The Bottega Fijian Fashion Festival 2019

Sandhya Dusk Nand reports on Suva’s great fashion event where the designers showing are a mix of established stars, new kids on the block and emerging talent.

May 27, 2019
Rebecca Murphy

Rebecca Murphy

May 27, 2019

Fiji may not be the first country that comes to mind when thinking fashion but Fiji has had a thriving fashion industry for over 50 years, with iconic brands, designer boutiques, a Fashion Council, prestigious fashion events and internationally successful models.

The garment industry is also serious business in Fiji servicing globally renowned ‘high street’ names like Kookai Australia and Gap plus exclusive Australian designers. Suva is rightfully the economic core and the Pacific’s most sophisticated and stylish capital.

Fashion is a big part of Suva’s identity and the city revels in its style-hub cred, which is why it is the home of the Pacific’s most prestigious commercial fashion event.

The Bottega Fijian Fashion Festival (BFFF) is held in June, at the very glamorous and historic Grand Pacific Hotel. Now in its second year, the Festival is an initiative of the Fashion Council of Fiji, its primary aim is to connect Fijian designers directly to external markets and global trading platforms.  

Last year’s show was a hit with industry personnel and consumers, and not just in Fiji.  An independent, respected Australian magazine dedicated an entire issue to Fijian fashion, featuring a top Fijian model wearing Fijian designer garments on their cover, a first for everyone.

“The world is ready for a unique voice in the global fashion arena. We believe that Fiji, specifically Suva, is the fashion capital of the Pacific,” says Fashion Council of Fiji Chair and BFFF Trustee, Fuzz Ali.

Ali also says, “We are lucky that because we are still in the development phases of our industry (in terms of guided structure and regulations), we can curate an industry that is above the norm, and possibly setting standards.”

One of the Festival’s core principles is diversity and inclusivity on the runway. It’s a standard that is only now being implemented on global runways and, even then, not fast enough for a world with a melanin majority.

The BFF runways feature all body types, ethnicities, gender expressions and identities and people with disabilities.

“The Festival is owned by the industry, it was created to address the needs of designers and creatives. The Council wants to react and respond to the changing needs of the fashion and associated creative industries so that the Festival’s aims remain relevant,” says Ali.

The crème de la crème of Fiji fashion designers and brands all choose to launch their latest collections at BFFF and new designers are given the opportunity of a lifetime to showcase their talents to an audience of savvy, stylish consumers.

The designers showing are a mix of established stars, new kids on the block and emerging talent, with criteria labelled as ‘Legendary’; ‘Blooming’; ‘Budding’ and ‘Moana’ (Fijian designers based overseas) and because BFFF is not a season-specific fashion showcase, designers are free to express their design visions how they wish, from resort to winterwear (and yes, it does get cool in Fiji).

This year the shows are spread out over three days from Friday June 6th – Sunday June 9th, with group shows on opening night and individual designer shows spread throughout Saturday and Sunday. Although BFFF targets the global industry, it is a consumer driven event, choosing to include the consumer and making the consumer the actual raison d’etre of fashion. 

As of writing, most shows are sold out. Suva loves its social scene and dresses UP and celebrates its fashion industry.  Hence why such a prestigious event is called a ‘festival’, rather than the more common moniker ‘week’.  

The Bottega Fijian Fashion Festival is indeed a celebration of talent and multi-culturalism, a platform of inclusivity and an exclusive showcase of Urban Fiji.

Bottega Fijian Fashion Festival 2019

June 6 – 9 

Grand Pacific Hotel

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