Pacific Fusion Fashion Show 2020 designers with their designs and co-host Sammy Salsa. Image by Colin McDiarmid.
Celebrating five years of their unique event, the Pacific Fusion Fashion Show 2020 (PFFS) took a new form this year, broadcasting an exciting digital fashion show on Freeview TV from Wellington’s City Gallery. Supported by The Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF), the show titled POLYNATION was a joyous and vibrant affair showcasing the creative designs of 13 Polynesian designers. It featured original music tracks created and mixed by Brandon Haru and poetry written by South Auckland spoken word poet Grace Taylor. 130 invited guests enjoyed a red carpet style event with the designers in attendance before co-hosts stylist Sammy Salsa and Miss Universe New Zealand Diamond Langi, hosted the live screening.
For founder and creative director Nora Swann it was certainly a night to remember and a chance to celebrate the momentum and credibility the annual South Auckland fashion event has achieved to date, “I’m really proud of what my team of volunteers and long standing partners have achieved over the last four years,” says Nora Swann. “Every year we go to new levels of creativity and deliver a quality high fashion event. We work hard behind the scenes to support and coach our emerging models and designers to break new ground and it’s very rewarding to see people grow and flourish.”
“POLYNATION is dedicated to all our resilient and courageous Polynesian creative community who have been hit hard this year with COVID. I am so proud of everyone involved because we truly have produced a world-class digital content fashion show. At the five year mark, I believe we’ve earnt the respect of many as a credible contributor in the fashion space. However, there’s more work to be done to give voice and visibility of Polynesian creatives in the fashion industry – and that’s why we must keep pushing forward.”
While the unprecedented global pandemic has derailed many events this year, Nora and her team were determined to find a way to safely continue with PFFS if possible and keep up the momentum gained to date. Seeing the possibilities in a different form of event Nora decided to create a digital fashion show with each designer’s collection pre-filmed during a content production weekend that was cut into a slick and exciting show produced by Bright Sunday.
“I had to seriously consider the risks of running a live event given restrictions that could be imposed at any time if an outbreak occurred,” adds Nora. “However COVID has also forced some innovation that has enabled us to celebrate our five year milestone in ways we hadn’t previously considered.”
The 13 designers taking part this year included a strong mix of emerging and established talent with MAKKE, XTRABISH, Dane Dagger, OHN, CNDA by Jacinda Prictor, Vai & Co, FOU CUSTOMMADE, TAV, Tanoa, KQTA KQULTURE, SEI ORIANA, MASC by Sam Ioane Samau and students from NZSAF showcasing their talent. The results were truly spectacular with vivid collections that challenged cultural and gender stereotypes while celebrating their proud heritage.
Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF) lead Afamasaga Jackie Curry says, “The Pacific fashion industry has hugely untapped potential for export opportunities for our Pacific people, especially in the Pacific region at this time with closed borders, because it isn’t just about fashion, it’s about livelihoods.”
“This event was an opportunity to not only share with New Zealand, the Pacific region, and the world, the incredible breadth of Pacific creative fashion talent, but also bring in a network of key people to support these talented individuals to accelerate their fashion career goals and businesses to the next level. It is also very exciting the event was held in Wellington, the creative capital of New Zealand and home to the second largest Pacific population in New Zealand.”
Pacific Fusion Fashion Show 2020 was made possible with the support from partners Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF), Bright Sunday, Ministry of Social Development, New Zealand School of Art and Fashion, Cut Above Academy, Pacific Business Trust, Ministry for Pacific Peoples and Pasifika Futures, Atu-Mai – Le Va, Voda Management, Worthy Fabrics and CS & Co. Beauty Solutions.
POLYNATION was also livestreamed on our FashioNZ Facebook page and on The Coconet TV. If you missed it you can watch it online here and check out our gallery at the bottom of this story to see looks from each designer participating in PFFS 2020. Congratulations to everyone involved on an incredible event.
Images by Raymond Sagapolutele (gallery) and Colin McDiarmid (live event).