Tag Archives: Pasifika Fashion Series

Moana-London Pacific Fashion Collective

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London Pacific Fashion Collective will feature its TEASER fashion show and open DAY ONE of Fashions Finest off schedule show during London Fashion Week. This will take place at the Grand Connaught Rooms, London on the 20th February 2016 at 3.30pm.

The theme for this year’s collective is based on the story of Disney ‘Moana’. The collective will feature designs from Established and Emerging designers from the South Pacific mainly Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Cook Islands, Australia and New Zealand.

Director and Founder of London Pacific Fashion, Ana Lavekau will showcase the teaser collection by some of the collectives established/emerging Designers.  Teaser designers include:

Missing Polynesia – Hawaii/Samoa

Dane Dagger – NZ/Cook Islands

Sina Cecilia – USA/Tonga

E’vana Couture – Australia/Samoa

Green Banana & Caviar – NZ/Tonga

Lilemirah – Fiji/UK

Reload Tribal – Fiji/UK

According to Lavekau, “Our entire teaser – collective designers have worked tirelessly hard to meet the required deadline of submitting their 3 designer pieces for our teaser show this season.  From Polynesian Couture designs to Ready To Wear and Tribal Swim Wear with a combination of ethnic fibre, colourful prints and  patterns from the South Pacific.”

After the teaser show in February, the ‘Moana’ London Pacific Fashion Collective will progress onto its main event which is a 2 day fashion show during London Fashion Week on the 16th & 17th of September.

More Established designers will be joining the collective later in September with representation from top Pacific fashion designers ‘Manaola’ from Hawaii and Shona Tawhiao; New Zealand Maori Master Weaver making Fashion come back to London.

London will be buzzing to the drums from the  South Pacific as we will take on the catwalk to showcase our Couture Designs, Art, Dances, Music and more importantly our Culture and Heritage. Designers will be arriving with their ‘Moana’ collection for children, men and women.

The finale ‘Moana’ collection will end in November with ‘Oceanic Voyage’ Fashion Workshop.

For more information on the collective contact Ana on email: Londonpacificfashion@gmail.com

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Australian Indigenous Fashion Week

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  • Who is AIFW (Australian Indigenous Fashion Week)?: AIFW is a fresh and exciting new event that aims to showcase and support the design talents of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders from across Australia.
  • What’s the inspiration: As the fashion industry yearns for authenticity, AIFW answers the call by introducing to the fashion world a new unique and fresh perspective.  AIFW is set to be a permanent fixture during the Australian fashion calendar and will focus on showcasing a diverse range of traditional & contemporary designs from emerging designers as well as notable industry names.

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  • Why it’s relevant:  With the industry craving authenticity there is definitely no better source that ensures an abundant amount of fresh and creative energy than with the Aboriginal & Pasifika Fashion industry.  The ability to have such an international platform such as Australian Fashion Week is so important in launching this much needed voice.  I don’t know about you but after a few seasons at the tents and seeing essentially the same points of view being showcased this is just as refreshing as a tall glass of Lindemans wine at the end of really long day.  Stay dialed in to when the next Australian Indigenous Fashion Week at their home page here.

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RKFJ: Salusalu Collection 2014

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  • Who’s the Designer:  Robert Kennedy 
  • What’s the inspiration:   Kennedy drew inspiration for his Salusalu 2014 collection from his recent visit to Samoa where he visited Louis Stevenson’s home and fell in love with the the home’s design style in marrying the idea of British sensibilities with Pacific culture and art.  This idea of giving a modern and fresh approach to traditional Pacific artifacts is the strong underlying theme to his work.  His work is truly a culmination of blending and blurring the line between disparate cultures and giving us a refreshingly new approach that allows these cultures to have a new point of view in which to tell their beautiful stories.
  • Why it’s relevant:  This collection is not only Fijian designed but is uniquely Fijian made.  The fashion industry is currently experiencing a shift where the idea of indigenous prints and designs are in extremely high demand.  This collection being designed and made in Fiji aides to giving more credibility to Pasifika Fashion and putting this great movement on the map.
  • Where to wear it:  This brimming full of stunning prints that give you a wide variety to fashion’s continued backing of the print trend.  Kennedy’s print color blocking allows you not only to be right on trend with the industry but his masterful print mixing allows  you to power print clash with the best of them.  The versatility in the collection allow you wear this while vacationing on the shores of Natadola Beach on Nadi in Fiji or lunching at Nomi in Chicago.

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CSM Style Influencer: My mom, Sela Lumepa Fonua

So many different experiences and impressions have molded and defined my fashion & style over the years.  Over the course of CSM‘s history I’ve toyed with the idea of further developing my ‘Pasifika Fashion Series‘ by adding the platform of style influencers.  I’ve received such an overwhelmingly positive feedback for this series from you the CSM community that I wanted to give you all the opportunity to tell me and the rest of the world about that special person that has played an integral role in “Using fashion as armour to walk life’s runway…” and honor them as a CSM style influencer.

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To help kick off this new layer to CSM’s ongoing ‘Pasifika Fashion Series‘ I want to introduce you to my style influencer, Mrs. Sela Lumepa (Lauhingoa) Fonua.  Growing up in a traditional conservative Tongan home in a very western world had it’s fair share of challenges and obstacles.  My mother growing up represented elegance, class and most importantly the idea of self empowerment.  As a working mother of four who constantly said phrases like “always be your own person because you is the best there is out there” and “it doesn’t matter that you are a woman, you are a Tongan woman which means you can do anything you set your mind too” it was no wonder that I never lacked in the areas of self confidence and perseverance.  These notions that my mother instilled in me were a strong juxtaposition to what my western school friends were being taught.  While I was empowered to aim for the stars but do so in a style of dress that I can best describe as ultra conservative (seriously I’m not joking, my mom had me wear tights with my shorts growing up) my friends who dressed and flaunted their western garb of freely wearing shorts without tights and sleeveless tops (I can not begin to describe how much I yearned to wear a sleeveless top) but in contrast to me a lot of my school friends aspired to be stay at home moms.  Many didn’t see a life outside of the home for themselves in the future.  Having children and staying home to raise them was all they foresaw in their futures.  While motherhood is definitely one layer of my aspirations, seeing my mother work and raise four children all while ensuring that everyday of our childhood lives we experienced the luxury of eating home cooked meals and living in an amazingly well kept home, she showed me that I can want it all AND have it all (and all while keeping true to one of her infamous pieces of style advice: Always remember that first impressions are everything so being well groomed even if it’s just to walk outside to grab the mail is important).

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While I grew up very conservative in the realm of fashion and style, the modern ideals that my mother instilled in me created the foundation for my ‘Edgy, Comfy, Chic’ aesthetic.  This traditional Tongan mom gave me the groundings to understand that while my culture is very conservative in dress we are a matriarchal society who pride ourselves in being one of the rare few who recognize the importance of giving a voice to a woman.  I’ve been able to translate that voice into defining who I am therefore has allowed for my style evolution to be such an organic process.  Empowered by this and amazing advice on old school tips for skin care with the bonus of having a daily reminder of what defines ‘timeless style’  is ultimately what lead to CSM: A Style Maven’s Diary.

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Lug Von Siga Rips Off Maori Moko Designs

Lug Von Siga BoardTurkish designer Gul Agis follows in the footsteps of American fashion designer, Nanette Lepore in appropriating cultural designs and motifs of our Pasifika community.  Agis showcased her Spring/Summer 2014 collection at London Fashion Week titled “Tribal Attitude”.  She attributed the inspiration of the “bold”  and “exotic” prints that were the signature of her collection to her home country of Turkey and it’s rich heritage coupled with the Gezi Park protests that occurred in Istanbul last year.

After huge backlash from our Pasifika community outcrying her foul cultural appropriation of Maori moko designs,  Gul Agis finally responded and clarified that her “Tribal Attitude” signature prints were in fact of the Maori moko.  Aside from her appropriation of Maori design not being properly attributed in the initial onset when she showcased the collection at London Fashion Week, she goes on further to explain that she simply did an internet search found the Maori moko design online and decided to copy it.  Her second act is the most offensive due to the  lack of cultural understanding.  Her decision to “give it a contemporary look” rather than taking the time to truly understand the rich and deep history behind the Maori design and gain insight into its meaning speak to the ignorance that is so prevalent within the fashion industry.  It is no secret that the fashion industry as a whole is rampant with cultural appropriation and attributing it all to the blurred defense of creativity.

What are your thoughts?  With the level of talent and exposure our Pasifika community is receiving in the global foreign media these types of acts will definitely not the be last.

 

 

 

 

The Artistry Behind the Brushes: Keke Vasquez

A medium used by millions yet, only a select few have mastered the skill.  Using the human body as their canvas these artists transform and create breathtaking temporary works of art that give all of us the supple opportunity to partake in the constant excitement of the evolution and change.

Keke Vasquez, a trailblazing Pasifika woman of Tongan/Samoan/Hawaiian decent is defining her place in the beauty industry as a dual threat.  This immensely talented hair and make-up artist is highly sought after not for her brilliant artistry behind the brushes but for her uncanny and unique ability to translate the beauty within all of her subjects.

I had the incredible opportunity to chat with Keke on her views of Pasifika Fashion, the different roadblocks and barriers she’s had to overcome, and what her advice would be to young Pasifika youth who have aspirations of following in her footsteps.  Check out CSM’s interview of Keke Vasquez, the artist behind the brushes:

CSM:  What inspired you to pursue a career in the beauty industry?

KV:  I’ve always love the beauty industry since I was young playing with my mom’s makeup and on a family member… I had a real painful past and felt if I covered what was from the inside out, no one can see the true pain I endured as a kid. I was also discouraged to continue down the beauty industry and it became a huge issue with me and my mom. I decided to pursue my first career for over a decade plus which was in technology. I worked as an engineer for quite sometime for Fortune 500 companies in the Silicon Valley here in the Bay Area. As years passed about 9 years ago I decided to go and do what I love which was makeup. By a fluke in meeting a mentor of mine that did primarily special effects… I continued to assist on movie sets, special effects and got educated in makeup schools and mentors. I met my main mentor Michael DeVillis with The Powder Group and past VP of the Pro Division at Make Up For Ever who was another ‘game changer’ that taught me presentation, portfolio and reel marketing, etc.   I secretly hid this from my family because it was taboo and wasn’t really a favorable subject because I grew up in a home that was religiously strict and also the preacher’s daughter.  Unfortunately I decided to keep myself from a distance with my family and decided to push harder with my makeup career taking in a different level… I started working as an assistant and making the assistant roster for almost most big agencies all over California and got to meet a lot of celebrities and awesome people. As I grew, I kept working on my portfolio of images and reels. I decided to get better with hairstyling by going to a Paul Mitchell school thanks to my my mentor Michael DeVillis and another Poly brother Mark Jason Solofa (barber owner in Berkeley and Samoan/Tongan decent) that went to Paul Mitchell the School East Bay in Pleasant Hill for leading me to pursue my education at Paul Mitchell the School East Bay. After joining I worked everyday as an engineer from 12am-8am, an hair/makeup artist from 9am-3pm for photoshoots and TV spots then 5pm to 10pm I would go to night school. I did this for almost a year and won a lot of hair shows and best overall for hair and makeup and then with Professional Beauty a Association I was a BEACON award winner where I was the first for my school to win overall over all cosmetology students in beauty school selected few. During this time I became less of an assistant and started heading hair and makeup departments in commercial/music… I lost my job as an engineer and my mom became really sick as well. After crying and getting on my knees praying for God’s direction, I get a call from my agency. The next day my agency, Look Artists Agency from San Francisco signed me on their full time roster. I have the best agent in the world and Rose and I have worked together seamlessly on amazing projects I haven’t dreamed of yet so early in my career as a full time artist on the roster.

 

CSM:  What was one of your most memorable styling appointments and why?

KV:  I have two that topped the list. The first one was meeting Tiesto and doing his men’s grooming for a few commercial spots….. I was his biggest fan and I nearly died after hearing that I was to work with him and his manager Kelly. It was the most memorable gig ever and honestly at that time I said I can now retire cause never in my life I would meet my favorite DJ.

My second one I wanted to talk about and why I mention it because it was a ‘game changer’ in my life getting me coming back to my roots and getting in touch with my family. My shoot with HM Princess Virginia Tuita of the Kingdom of Tonga. I worked with an all Polynesian crew which was the first for me in my career with photographer Ralph Misa, my cousin Monte, Mua with hair and myself with makeup. Working with her reminded me of the beauty, the honor and integrity of my culture. I looked at her and it reminded me of my family, my past… Who I am.

 

CSM:  As a pasifika female what obstacles have you had to overcome in order to create your niche in this beauty industry?

KV:  As I mentioned before, it was tough being a Pasifika women within my own family (my parents) because it was hard breaking their understanding of what the beauty industry was to them which was not a good picture…. Also being islander not a lot of people knew of any makeup artists or hair stylists that were polynesian decent! I often was classified as ‘The Rock’ or even ‘Troy Palumanu’ to give them an idea of an image of where and who I was… I just started to be me which was a proud Pasifika woman and worked really really hard.  I created a Facebook fan page and just worked along the way, but saw my fan base growing and getting heartfelt and touching emails and letters from Polynesians all over the world. I came into the realization that I wasn’t only working for myself, I was working for our people as a whole. Being the first Pasifika woman agency represented hair stylist and makeup artist, I have to strive for higher heights and push forward all I can because I guarantee I will not be the last Pasifika woman/man in this beauty industry. Many more will follow and also succeed!

 

CSM:  As not only a woman of color, but specifically a pasifika woman of color what are you Top 5 beauty must haves that should be in all of our make-up bags?

KV:

  • Top must have is moisturizer (my favorite is called embryolisse) the alternate to it is either Cetaphil or Olay face moisturizer.
  • Second, would be a good face wash.  All time fave is Ceptaphil face wash or my other fav with celebrities is Koh Gen Doh Cleansing Spa Water.
  • Third, would be a lip balm which I use a lot on myself is Baby Lips by Maybelline.  A higher line and more costly would be Face Atelier lip putty from New York 
  • Fourth, would be a good sunblock for the face and body (any) it’s important to use daily even on a gloomy day.
  • Fifth, would be a great toner.  What usually works on all skin types is witch hazel.  Other alternatives would be from the Jan Marini line that I truly love and a fav with celebrity clients.
So usually what works is cleanse, toner, moisturize (face and lips) and minimal makeup.  I have an eyebrow pencil, mascara, gel liner and lip balm.
For hair (I’m cheating with adding some more must haves for hair) all from Paul Mitchell:
  • Awapuhi Styling Treatment Oil that quenches and smooths any frizz, leaves the hair smooth , silky and shiny
  • Awaphui Shine Spray if you have only three seconds in your day uses three seconds spraying this weightless spray that transform any dull strand with reflective shine

 

CSM:  The beauty industry/world are constantly changing and evolving, what are your favorite trends for fall/winter should we all be trying?

KV:  My favorite trends for this fall is just adding a little darker lip color like the Bobbi Brown Blackberry depending on what skin taupe you are but I love Bobbi’s line especially her lipsticks.  The focus on the lips having it darker berry almost with a purple hue would be an ideal look for this fall.

 

CSM:  What pasifika fashion designer would you love to collaborate with? And who have you worked with thus far that has been the most memorable experience?

KV:  I love all my Pasifika designers especially Tui out of Sacramento and my cousin Monte out of Sacramento as well. I’ve worked with them both and love their style, drive and passion to fit our culture in their designs.

Designers outside of my Pasifika collaborations, would be my awesome clients thru my agency: Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Calvin Klein Performance and Bentley.  My favorite repeat client is Giorgio Armani.  Every gig I work with them they’ve been nothing but classy, beautiful and awesome.

 

CSM:  What advice would you give to our young Pasifika youth wanting to follow in your footsteps and pursue a career in the beauty industry?

KV:  Never let anything stop your dreams from coming a reality.  No matter how rough it is regardless of your past, be who you are, and do what makes you happy regardless what anyone says.

Check out some of Keke’s stunning work:

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Behind the Lens: Ralph Misa

In a digital world that is inundated by constant images and videos it is such a sigh of relief to see an artist who utilizes and masters the creative form of photography to convey images and a story that can only be told through a lens.

Ralph Misa, simply describes himself as a Samoan who is a lifestyle & commercial photographer, community builder and part-time super hero.  His artistry through his lens captivated me when I first discovered his stunning work about a year ago.  With the introduction of social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and most notably Instagram many have diluted notions of having photog cred (ahem, remember this one).  Thank goodness for true visionaries such as Ralph to be a constant reminder to all of us that through the medium of photography “that a picture is worth a thousand words”.

I recently had the rare opportunity to chat with Ralph on his views of Pasifika Fashion, the different roadblocks and barriers he’s had to overcome, and what his advice would be to young Pasifika youth who have aspirations of following in his footsteps.  Check out CSM’s interview of Ralph Misa, the artist behind the lens:

CSM:  What inspired you to do photography?

RM:  I started doing photography back in junior high school then, picked up my basics of film processing with a 35mm when I was about 15 years old. I fell in love with it at that age especially being in the darkroom and processing film.

In 2006 I picked up photography again when the rise of the DSLR’s started to pick up. I was doing graphic design at the time and got really bored with it.  I was dancing for a Polynesian group (Tupulaga) at the time when I picked it up again & decided to shoot the group photos, it was then I felt my love for photography again.

In 2008, I was on my third session with a world-renowned fashion photographer shooting fashion models. I remember distinctly during the workshop he stated: “I don’t shoot ugly people”. Puzzled & confused I asked, “What is your definition of ugly people”. He replied, “I don’t shoot people who are not Caucasian, under 5’8, and weigh more than 120lbs.” I immediately packed up my gear and told him “Thank you for everything and the workshop but, I am done here.” He asks: “Is everything ok?”. I replied: “Yes, were good.”. It was that day that changed my photography journey. I decided that day I would start shooting more of my Polynesian people, start working with more Polynesians in this industry, and ultimately shoot more people of variety that wouldn’t normally be seen on magazines.

What I am truly inspired by are real life stories of my clients and people who share their journey with me. I then utilize photography & a bit of imagination to bring moments to life. It has definitely been a rewarding and fulfilling experience so far.

 

CSM:  Which Pasifika fashion designer would you love to collaborate with on a photo shoot & what would it be?

RM:  There are so many designers worldwide that I follow. One in particular I have worked with. Fatui Toele from Sacramento. We worked on a fashion shoot last year of his amazing work. He is an upcoming samoan fashion designer that has won several fashion battle competitions in Sacramento. What I particularly love is his venetian approach to his work. It is phenomenal, creative, and I would definitely work with him again in the future on more Pasifika Styled photo shoots. What’s even more amazing is his love for community work and the youth since, I am an advocate for building strong Polynesian communities.

 

CSM:  What was your most memorable/favorite fashion/design inspired photo shoot and why?

RM:  My favorite? Would have to be the shoot with Fatui Toele and amazing make up artist Keke Vasquez (kekevasquez.com) whom is also of polynesian decent & signed make up artist to Look Artists where she is also working with global brands such as Giorgio Armani, etc. We were able to come together as Polynesians to showcase our talent & create something phenomenal. This is the very reason why I love this particular shoot because we truly appreciate each other’s work.

 

CSM:   What is your favorite subject matter to photograph?

RM:  My favorite subject to shoot are people with phenomenal stories and pivotal times in their lives from weddings all the way to portrait shoot where its meaningful, imaginative, and classic.

 

CSM:  What piece of advice would you give to aspiring photographers who hope to one day be where you are today?

RM:  I am not entirely sure if I am in a place where I want to be however, I have been blessed with great opportunities with amazing people. The only advice I can give is to “trust your vision” & “never give in or never give up”. People will tell you that you may not be good enough – never believe them. I am a self-taught photographer that goes throughs the ups & downs of this business daily. Never be afraid to make mistakes , it’s the best lesson. You will never welcome true success unless you embrace the failures along the way. Remember the failures are temporary. I try to live this everyday and I never stopped believing.  I hope to continue to do this and be an inspiration to those who want to pursue the dream.

P.S. Peep these amazing photos featuring Fatui Toele designs, make-up by Keke Vasquez and naturally captured by the talented Ralph Misa:

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Draw inspiration, not appropriation!

While perusing my social media networks I stumbled upon a change.org petition called, ‘Nanette Lepore: Stop appropriating traditional Fijian designs and motifs and calling it “Aztec”.  Being a Pasifika female of Tongan descent I’m really sensitive to the misuse and misrepresentation of my Pasifika community.  So naturally this headline drew me in.   I’ve known Nanette Lepore for being one of America’s leading fashion designers and contributors to the American fashion persona with her signature ‘artsy boho-chic’ aesthetic.

After reading the petition and it’s charge against Lepore of, ” it is FRAUD and Lepore has absolutely NO RIGHT to use my traditional cultural design for her clothing and calling it something it is NOT…”  The claim centered around a fashion spread that Women’s Health Magazine featured in June of this year called ‘Passport to Style’.  In the feature pieces from Lepore’s Summer collection are showcased with the subtitle, “AFRICAN”.  The dress shown below (taken directly from Nanette Lepore’s facebook page) is called the “AZTEC Dress” and this specific print is littered throughout Lepore’s entire Summer collection (also featured here).

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Lepore’s entire design aesthetic is centered around bold colors, evocative prints and her signature silhouettes.  So to stake the claim that one of her prints is counterfeited is a pretty hefty claim.  Now in taking a closer look at the print that Lepore refers to as “AZTEC” and comparing it side by side with 15 traditional cultural motifs that are used in Fijian Masi Designs it is pretty hard not to draw the same conclusion that the the author of the change.org petition Kat Lobendahn came to: Nanette Lepore appropriated traditional Fijian Masi Designs in her Summer 2013 collection (don’t the Kaso, Uga, Tama, and Rova motifs look strikingly similar to the elements Lepore is using in her “AZTEC” print?).

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While it is not uncommon in the fashion industry for designers to draw inspiration for their work it is quite another to blatantly copy another artists’ work and qualify it all under the umbrella of ‘inspiration’.  What is even more disappointing is the fact that Lepore does not even acknowledge the cultural heritage that she appropriated her designs from.

 

Forging a new way: Diamond Langi

For most little girls when asked what their career aspirations are the immediate answers are usually Actor, Model, and Singer.  Many of us hold tight to those dreams but with time, they become a faded and distant memory.  For me these memories always resurface around fashion week when I’m sitting in the audience watching the endless parade of beautiful statuesque models streaming down the runway and think to myself, “W-O-W!!!”…

One little girl who never allowed herself to think that there was even the slightest possibility that she could not achieve all of the career aspirations she set forth for herself is, Diamond Langi.  Diamond is a Model, Singer and Actress who currently resides in Sydney, Australia.  This seasoned professional holds over 7 years of modelling experience (i.e. editorial, commercial, beauty, and runway) and being the lead singer for 3 different bands it is very difficult to believe that this this young artisan is only 21 years old.  Diamond’s ground breaking achievements in the fashion industry are aiding to help break down barriers while also putting an end to stereotypes that not only society has created but that our own Pasifika communities have erected.

I recently had the rare opportunity to chat with Diamond on her views of Pasifika Fashion, the different roadblocks and barriers she’s had to overcome, and what her advice would be to young Pasifika youth who have aspirations of following in her footsteps.  Check out CSM’s interview of Diamond Langi, Model, Singer and Actress:

 

CSM: Tell me a little bit about yourself and your cultural background…

DL: My name is Diamond Langi, I’m 21 years old, and my cultural background is Tongan. I love Singing, Acting & Modeling.

 

CSM: When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in modeling?

DL: At the young age of 6 years old is when I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in modeling.  I knew it’s what I wanted and I was not going to be told that it wasn’t possible.  I set a goal for myself and I pursued and now it’s a reality.

 

CSM: As a Pasifika woman, did you encounter obstacles in pursuing your modeling aspirations?

DL: Yes, there have been a lot due to what I believe in and stand for as a Polynesian woman.  My standards are really high so there are a lot of jobs that I have had to turn down and say “No” too because I want to show women, especially Polynesian women that you don’t have to lower your standards in order to achieve your goals and/or become successful.

 

CSM: How has your cultural background helped in your pursuit of your modeling career? (and or based on your background what makes your experience different from other models in the industry)

DL: My cultural background has helped me tremendously in the modeling world.  Through my culture I was taught at a very young age the importance of holding a high respect for myself  and to never deviate from what I stand for and to always stand and defend what I know is right.  This has helped define for me what my values are in life and what is wrong and right.

 

CSM: What was your favorite shoot that you’ve done and why?

DL: My favourite shoot so far was done in Tonga for Bou’s Fashion after running for Miss Heilala 2012 last year.  I have always been a fan of nature and for this shoot I didn’t wear any make-up and it really revealed me.  It was a chance to just be myself and show the world who I am.  This was all coupled with Tonga’s beautiful surroundings.  The simple and wonderous landscapes coupled with me being one with nature in having no make-up were just amazing.

 

CSM: Which Pasifika fashion designer would you love to model/walk in their next fashion show?

DL: I’m not really picky and I’m always happy to work with any Pasifika fashion designer but if I had to pick a few it would be Kapi Fonua, MENA, and Lavashe Couture.  Their work is absolutely amazing!

 

CSM: What key piece of advice would you share with the upcoming Pasifika youth interested in pursuing a modeling career?

DL: Never Change.  I know that everyone says this but it’s so true.  Your cultural background is your identity and the root in the ground as you start to blossom into a flower.

Diamond Langi

 

 

The woman behind London Pacific Fashion Week: Ana Lavekau

With the change of each new season most naturally associate this with a weather change but to those of us who live and breathe the fashion industry this change of season is a signal of the upcoming seasons’ crop of fashion shows and presentations highlighting next year’s key silhouettes, fabrications, colors and trends.  The four key fashion show weeks are held each season first in New York, followed by London, then Milan and is rounded out by Paris.  During fashion month designers from all over the world take the stage to showcase their what they envision as the signature looks we should be wearing for the upcoming season.

As a purveyor of fashion and regular at fashion week, I literally cheered out loud when I discovered London Pacific Fashion Show.  Discovering this fashion week is the central inspiration for why I created the Pasifika Fashion Series on CSM.  There are little to no outlets in America highlighting and celebrating the significant contribution my Pasifika community has made and continues to make to the Fashion industry.  As a “Fashion Jack(ie) of All Trades” I was not surprised that the woman behind the London Pacific Fashion Show also epitomizes this title.  Ana Lavekau’s official title is, Director of London Pacific Fashion but the various roles and hats she wears to help pull this fashion show off year after year is nothing short of awe inspiring.

I recently had the rare opportunity to chat with Ana on her views of Pasifika Fashion, the future of London Pacific Fashion Show, and what she manages to do in her spare time.  Check out CSM’s interview of Ana Lavekau, Director of London Pacific Fashion:

CSM: What inspired you to pursue a calling in fashion?

AL: After producing the first London Pacific Fashion Week I was inspired by all of those amazing and talented designers and I’ve been at it ever since.

 

CSM: Why did you decide to focus in on Pasifika Fashion?

AL: There is a lack of knowledge on Pacific Fashion/Design/Art in London so the fastest way to promote it to Londoners was to host a Pacific Fashion show collaborating all four elements from Pacific (Fashion/Dance/Opera/Art).

 

CSM: Of all of the many amazing London Pacific Fashion Shows that you have helped produce, which artist was the most memorable?

AL: I would certainly say that Lindah Lepou was by far the most memorable.  She is an inspiration to any emerging fashion designer from the Pacific.

 

CSM: There are a lot of up and coming Pasifika fashion/style talent coming up like Kapiliola Fonua, who is the next talent we should be on the look out for?

AL: Definitely be on the look out for New Zealand emerging designer, Louina Fifita.

 

CSM: What are your hopes for the future  of London Pacific Fashion Show/Week?

AL: I am coordinating a London Pacific Fashion Collective for the upcoming London Fashion Week during fashion month in September of this year.  It will be a one hour show that will highlight the best of the best from the South Pacific.  This is a rare and unique opportunity is so important because through this major vehicle we will be able to showcase our amazing designs and talent to the mainstream market.

 

CSM: With the few spare minutes you have in your day that aren’t dedicated to London Pacific Fashion Week, what do you like to do?

AL: I just launched my own apparel label, Reload Tribal earlier this month.  Reload Tribal is a modern brand of intimate apparel that promotes the art of story telling from the South Pacific, in particular from my home island of Fiji.  The really unique message of my brand is that it promotes the message of safe sex and with every piece that is sold a $1.00 donation will be made to the local charity Fiji Network Plus to help spread the message of safe sex to help bring more awareness of HIV/AIDS prevention.

 

Ana Lavekau, Director of London Pacific Fashion

Ana Lavekau, Director of London Pacific Fashion