An enabling environment is essential to unleashing the full potential of Fijians pursuing a career in fashion and design, says Hon. Mereseini Vuniwaqa, Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, who launched the Fashion Incubation Centre located at the Fiji National University’s (FNU) National Training and Productivity Centre (NTPC) in Nabua on Friday 28 August, 2020.
In 2019, the NTPC and the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) consulted with Fiji’s fashion industry stakeholders to explore ways of responding to the production needs of fashion graduates from FNU and APTC.
Both parties agreed to collaborate to reactivate the FNU Garment Factory as a way to support FNU and APTC graduates as well as emerging designers and small business entrepreneurs.
The Centre will enable production runs of up to 100 items - ideal for small business entrepreneurs who are unable to place orders through established garment factories due to their small quantity.
The Centre’s programs are designed to support young designers and fashion start-ups, enabling them to develop and contribute to new entrepreneurial initiatives locally.
Hon. Vuniwaqa said the Fijian Government supports local talent and initiatives such as the Fashion Incubation Centre, as they promote a “Fijian Made” brand.
“This is particularly timely during this difficult and challenging time, when people are struggling to cope with the detrimental social and economic impacts of COVID-19,” she added.
“The opening of this new Incubation Centre today signifies added arenas for the continuing growth of the incubation programmes and I look forward to seeing more and more shining designers coming out from this new Centre to contribute to the development of our Fashion.”
Ms Renee Deschamps, Counsellor for Development Cooperation at the Australian High Commission, said, “we are proud to support this initiative through the APTC, and contribute to stimulating income-generating activities for Fiji’s economic growth.
Chair of Fiji Fashion Council, Andrew Powell, said the launch highlighted the fresh talent Fiji has to offer in fashion and designing.
“The best and effective fashion designing course not only improves your creative skills and knowledge, but also allows you to know about the changing trends. These are the most useful and significant skills that help you to obtain a bright future in this fashion designing industry and I am confident that the Fashion Incubation Centre will play an important role in enhancing Fiji’s image as a great place to shop, and a great trendsetter in today’s global fashion market,” Mr Powell said.