DESIGNER: MARAMA ELIZABETH
1. What made you want to be a fashion designer?
Growing up in Sigatoka, Fiji, I was exposed to sewing from a young age by numerous females in my family. My mother sewed all of my sibling’s and my clothes, school uniforms, crochet, embroidery, you name it. It was almost inevitable that I began taking over many of these roles as I went through primary and secondary school. It was a seemingly natural progression in my life. Yet it wasn’t until I returned to Fiji after 20 years of living in Australia that I got thrown into the deep end of the fashion design world. I hadn’t thought about sewing for years, it had been a long time since I had tailored a piece for my daughter, fixed my son’s school uniform, made something unique for a friend. During my return to Fiji at the end of 2017, I decided to enter a sketch into a local design competition for commonwealth fashion council in London . To my surprise, I won. This led to the construction of my first contemporary masi dress finished with a mat trim and embellished with JHunter pearls . 2. What does fashion mean to you? In my opinion fashion is about expressing ones identity, it’s about ME. It’s about showing someone who I am through my fashion choices and using my clothes to tell someone something about me. Fashion is not only about trends it’s about my creativity, and by bringing different elements together I am able to express ME. For me I think less is more - simplicity with elegance. 3. Do you draw from cultural influences? As I’m of Samoan-German/Indian authenticity, and a true Fijian, I cannot help but embrace all my heritages which as a result makes designing more exciting. It becomes a wonderful cross section of infusions and explosions of colour. But most importantly the incorporation of natural fabrics and advocating for sustainability and slow fashion is what makes designing a never ending learning experience. I have Tiki togs dresses that I still wear but slightly modified = slow fashion. The true essence of fashion is having the ability to keep a design alive !! 4. Can you tell a little about your PR19 collection? This collection, "Who Am I? ME", is in fact not of my own doing. This entire collection is the brainchild of my daughter, Avalon. An enigmatic individual, her school of thought and moral code cannot be governed or swayed. It is her voice that is projected from these designs, a voice that took her a lifetime to use. A portrayal of pride without duplicity, confidence without pretension, individuality without conformity. This collection is rooted in strength and practicality, and a refreshing simplicity that does not compromise through exposure. Femininity at its most radical is expressed in these designs, in an attempt to bring about the upheaval and deconstruction of the patriarchy in which women have resided since the beginning of time. The use of the triangle as a central motif of this collection is not just an aesthetic; it holds great significance. Any weight, any burden that is placed upon a triangle will be evenly distributed across all three sides, proving it to be the strongest shape. Infallible strength of the feminine is what is represented in these designs. However, these triangles symbolize more than just this. The upward facing triangle is the alchemical symbol for fire, symbolizing a rising energy. An inverted triangle represents water, the downward flow. But most importantly, the inverted triangle is an ancient symbol of femininity. A woman of today should be celebrated and revered for the incredibly powerful force that she is. A superhero in her own lane, bold, unabashed, and inherently free to be ME. 5. Will this collection be available for sale and where? Yes, available for purchase online. https://marama-elizabeth.myshopify.com/