From Suva runways to the pages of Australian Vogue: the rising star of Fiji’s fledgling fashion scene

From Suva runways to the pages of Australian Vogue: the rising star of Fiji’s fledgling fashion scene

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Sunday 21/08/2022
Laisiasa Raibevu Davetawalu, who designs under the label Elaradi, carries the hope of his local fashion community, which fundraised to send him to design school in Australia [Image: The Guardian]

The hopes of Fiji’s fledgling fashion industry sit on the slim shoulders of 25-year-old, Laisiasa Raibevu Davetawalu who hails from Muaninuku Village in Kadavu.

The young designer has done what so many in the Pacific country have dreamt of but not had the opportunity to do.

Sponsored by the entire Fiji Fashion community the 25-year-old has completed his training at the Fashion Design Studio at Tafe NSW in Australia, making him one of the few Fijian designers to have been able to access professional training.

The strength of his recent graduate collection has landed him in the pages of Australian Vogue and a job as a junior garment technician at Zimmermann, one of Australia’s most successful fashion labels.

He says he is proud of his heritage and wants to represent Fiji on the world fashion stage.

Alongside his job at Zimmermann, Davetawalu has his own label Elaradi – a play on his initials, LRD.

In May, he brought an expanded version of his graduate collection from Sydney to Suva for the closing show of Fiji Fashion week, where it was received by cheering fans, well-wishers and supporters.

The Guardian

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