Local Fijian fashion designer determined to showcase his talent on world stage

Fashion designer Laisiasa Davetawalu is determined to represent Fiji on the world stage.

The Guardian reports the 25-year-old recently landed a job as a junior garment technician at Zimmermann, one of Australia’s most successful fashion labels.

His most recent collection of sensuous women’s wear with traditional Fijian designs landed him on the pages of the fashion magazine, Vogue Australia.

The Kadavu native says the journey has not been easy.

The Fiji fashion community raised money for his fees which enabled him to complete his training at the Fashion Design Studio at Tafe New South Wales.

Apart from his job at Zimmermann, Davetawalu has his own label, Elaradi, which featured in this year’s Fiji Fashion Week in Suva.

The former Queen Victoria School student says he dropped out of school because he was bullied for being gay and for always sketching designs while other boys played rugby.

He continued to design fashion pieces which caught the eye of Fiji Fashion Week founder, Ellen Whippy-Knight, and started a fundraiser to help Davetawalu attend formal training in Australia.

Today, he is one of only a handful of local designers with formal training in fashion.