The Fiji Times » Common goals for fashion designers


They both debuted at Fiji Fashion Week during the toughest times in the event’s 15-year history, but Cecilia Fong and Harsha Harsmeetal have a serious commitment in common.

The two single women are also extremely talented, and each knows that focusing on the business side of fashion will ensure the longevity of their careers in the creative arts.

Sigatoka-based Harsha, 28, made her FJFW debut on her virtual show in 2021, so she’s sort of trying out the track for the first time.

With a business degree from the University of the South Pacific, work experience in finance and a career in recording music under his belt, Harsha’s front line “Kalpanik” last year caught many eyes. approvers.

Even before FJFW x Palmolive 2021, Harsha’s work attracted clients who needed evening or day wear for parties and events.

Inspired by celebrity culture and other catwalk fashions, Harsha intended to produce standout outfits for men and women over the age of 15.

She came to FJFW hoping that the diverse talent pool and internal brand recognition would provide the launch pad she needed.

“I do this out of passion and love for fashion. I love designing, I love fashion shows and it was my dream job when I was in elementary school. I love the diversity and the mix of colors in each outfit,” she said.

Although she’s sold most of her work on her Facebook page, the Sigatoka designer knows that a physical show is a different ball game.

“No COVID restrictions is one of the best things so far, so there’s an expectation for massive audiences.”

Catch Harsha at the Resort Cruise show on Friday, May 27 from FJFWx Palmolive.

Harsha Hashmeetal is the creator of the Harsha label. Photo: SUPPLIED

Cecilia Marian Fong is of Chinese ancestry and Oneata, Lau. Trading under the name of Portulina, Cecilia spent her childhood in American Samoa and therefore draws much inspiration from Polynesian cultural art.

“Well, I’ve always loved Pacific fashion. When I was in college in American Samoa, I did design as a hobby for me and my friends. We used to have small banquets at university, it was usually the perfect opportunity to design an outfit for my friends and me. After returning to Fiji, Cecilia’s hobby has become a viable business opportunity, as she is already attracting a clientele.

“What I love most about designing is the whole process. From designing the print to the garment, and watching the sketches come to life.

The young designer hopes her second year of showing at Fiji Fashion Week will grow her beyond her Pacific-inspired style and market.

“This year’s collection is called Wasaliwa and I want to present semi-formal outfits with bright colors and elegant fitted outfits for both men and women.

“I aim to meet the needs of people of all ages and sizes. I want people to wear my clothes without worrying about whether it’s for thin people or tall people.

The best part of FJFW for her came from the motivational power of seeing her artistic thoughts materialize on the track. While she has yet to make any dramatic changes to her brand, she said the business lessons were about time management and marketing.

“I learned to accept failure as part of the journey and the importance of time management.

“Sometimes I was overwhelmed with the number of orders coming in in droves. And time management was something I struggled with because I have a full-time job and design on the side and that meeting customer requirements and their orders was so important to me because I didn’t want to not meet them, so time management was really a huge thing that I had to deal with.

The value of social media and networking with influencers to gain brand recognition is a priority for Cecilia.

She realized that FJFW means going far beyond the release of a product.

“I think marketing is one of the most important things when you’re an emerging designer trying to get people to know your brand. Whether you market it through another social media page or your friends do the marketing for you by shouting at your page, you need to have a marketing strategy. I learn slowly.

Meet Cecilia at the Resort Cruise Lounge on Friday, May 27 of FJFWx Palmolive 2022.

  • Lice Movono is a freelance journalist and public relations consultant.

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