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Two Councils Come Together for Fashion and Fiji

The Textile, Clothing and Footwear Council and the Fiji Fashion Council have established earnest consultations on ways to help take fashion in Fiji to heightened levels of success. The potential of Fiji to service the international fashion market is quite attractive. Fiji naturally possesses many of the successful attributes that international Fashion designers and retailers require from the production side of their industry.

Kalpesh Solanki, TCF Council President assesses both the opportunity and the challenge quite succinctly. He notes, “There are definitely synergies between the textile clothing & footwear industry and the fashion design industry. The main objective of the TCF Council is to work in the interests of the manufacturers of TCF goods. The fashion industry, on the other hand, involves mainly individual designers and small fashion houses at this stage in Fiji. Now that there is a Fashion Council of Fiji established, the TCF Council is keen to engage in discussions with them to explore how both Councils can work together.”

In order for this type of activity to arrive on our shores in larger numbers, there are certain areas of concern where Fiji must create assurances with overseas alliance partners in terms of both production and sustainability. Solanki opens up about exactly what those issues are and what this sector will demand out of Fiji. He elaborated, “Fiji certainly has very creative people and in particular the younger generation who are looking to get into fashion design. However, it is important that they have the opportunities for training, skills development and ultimately the option of either joining a company or starting their own. On this note, the TCF Council recognizes that since fashion design is a developing sector, it will require assistance and the Council stands ready to work with Fashion Council of Fiji.”

Once this process has gained traction, the outlook is quite promising. It can bring significant new levels of revenue back into the country from a long established Fiji industry tapping into a predominantly new arena. The TCF industry in Fiji once employed more than 20,000 workers. It is now down to a very stable 4,500 but could grow solidly if Fiji makes a name for itself in this always relevant market sector.

Mr. Solanki remarked on the potential of local designers to find an international outlet for their skills when he says, “There is an excellent scope for developing a pool of talented Fijian designers who excel in the fashion field both locally and regionally. They may face challenges in terms of getting raw materials for and sewing of their fashion ranges, but those can be addressed. Hence, the outlook for boutique fashion with a unique “Fiji” flair is certainly good.”

Manufacturing fashion clothing and footwear on larger scale will take bit longer to develop than expanding traditional markets currently already serviced. However new fashion markets do bring potential significant rewards. For this to happen within the fashion sector, Fiji will require important issues to be addressed such as raw material supply chain management improvements and an up skilling of its workforce.

As fashion changes rapidly, the ability of factories to adapt to these changes will be critical to success. The ability to source new raw materials that the fashion market needs and wants is also of paramount importance. Solanki concluded by summing up the agenda moving forward. He said, “As we all know, training and up skilling of people takes time, money, and lot of concerted effort. This is something that TCF Council will be consulting its members for a way forward.”

A noble cause indeed and one that Fiji is fueled to take on far more aggressively in the upcoming years.

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Posted on: July 2 at 5:57 am

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