Emerging designer aims to establish himself despite challenges

Emerging designer aims to establish himself despite challenges

By Rashika Kumar
Friday 27/05/2022
Laisiasa Davetawalu

Laisiasa Davetawalu who as a passionate 15-year-old boy took part in the Fiji Fashion Week sulu-jaba competition 10 years ago is now working for one of Australia’s leading clothing brands and is also one of the very first iTaukei students to graduate from the Fashion Design Studio in Sydney.

Davetawalu who graduated with a Bachelor of Fashion and Design earlier this year says his journey in establishing himself began when he skipped school in Form 5 and walked into the Fiji Fashion Week office.

He says he took part in the 2018 Fiji Fashion Week as an emerging designer after which Managing Director, Ellen Whippy-Knight took him under her wings and got him into the fashion school.

The 24-year-old says he felt home sick in Sydney because he had never left his family for a long time and it was hard to keep going, make new friends, start again and adjust to the new environment.

Davetawalu also says it was also challenging to get a job to support himself and even though Whippy-Knight was supporting him, it was nice to have some extra money which is why he took up gardening and other jobs around the neighbourhood.

He says he started working for Zimmerman when they had sent out an expression of interest for students looking for weekend job and only 5 of them got a reply.

The young fashion designer further says he has been with Zimmerman since November last year and it was only meant for a week but he is still there and he is enjoying it.

He says he will be showcasing 8 of his original looks from his graduate collection and an additional 12 looks.

Davetawalu further says they are working on Zimmerman’s resort collection at work which will be shot on Sunday and he has been working on his collection at night.

He says he wants to see himself growing in the industry and starting his own brand after learning the ropes at Zimmerman in the next five years.

The Kadavu lad adds for anyone who wants to make it into the industry, they need to work hard, believe in themselves and stay true to who they really are.

The 15th Fiji Fashion Week titled FJFWxPalmolive 2022 will be live on FM96 Instagram page.

The Resort Cruise Runway will be today and the Resort Luxe Runway will be on tomorrow. The shows are expected to start at 6pm at the Vodafone Arena.

This will be the 15th anniversary for the Fiji Fashion Week and tickets are still available. For bookings tickets@fijifashionweek.com.fj

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