Organisers say the "Pacific body" should be celebrated and want the festival to reflect what people in the region want.
Speaker: Spokeswoman Lice Movono-Rova
MOVONO-ROVA: Fashion Week is pretty much the only premier fashion event in the region and as you know the Pacific size is more 12 and up rather than eight and ten recognised internationally. We've been doing very well in terms of finding models in international standard size, which is eight to ten and a little bit up of that. And this year we're getting more international attention, there is going to be some international media and some international buyers. And so we're going to stay true to the character of the Pacific, the character of Fiji and going to encourage more women with a fuller figure to come forward and be a part of our show.
COUTTS: And are you getting many full figured ladies responding to your call?
MOVONO-ROVA: We're not, we're not Geraldine. I think there's still a lot of myths around what the woman's figure is like and at our last auditions on the weekend we only got a handful of full figured models. And so we would have made a bigger show of calling for full figured models because of that very reason. A lot of people see the marketing materials that are put out showing size eight and size ten models, and some of them might be a little bit intimidated. So we're trying to be a bit more vocal in our call for women with a full figured size.
COUTTS: And does this come down to self-image and confidence in the women themselves?
MOVONO-ROVA: It does. I think that the Fiji Fashion Week being the only fashion week event in the Pacific needs to take in to account what women in the region wear, who are basically the customers of the designers that we showcase. And so we're trying to encourage women to come out and show at our event, because the bulk of our designers design for plus-size or full figured sizes.
COUTTS: I was going to ask you about that, about going to the designers and the shop keepers and the factory owners, to go to them and get their support and help with this presentation of trying to get full figured women into the public eye?
MOVONO-ROVA: Well a lot of our designers I would say about 60 per cent, even a little bit more design for full figured women. A lot of our top designers, the ones who actually earn quite a substantial income from their work, design for the full figured size. And so we're trying to maybe focus on that more than that which we have been showing for the past few years. Having said that though, we do have a lot of designers who focus on international standards of high end fashion or what's acceptable overseas. But we're trying to be a bit more diverse in the images that we show this year. And Fiji Fashion Week is very careful about the image that our work portrays to women. We're very careful to not take models who portray an image that is not healthy. We're very careful about the message that we give young people about healthy eating habits and about the sizes that they have to be in order to earn a living from this industry. And so we're trying to be, we're more careful about what our viewers see and what they read into the messages that we give.
COUTTS: And are you getting support from the government and the government owned factories?
MOVONO-ROVA: I don't think there are any government owned factories Geraldine. But we're getting some support from government, the only support we have at the moment is from the Department of Culture and Heritage, and so we would really like to be able to get more ownership from government. I think that we're in a position to market Fiji's rag trade as being able to take on more high end fashion work, which tends to be the ones that earn a bit more than what we're doing at the moment. And so we could definitely do with a lot more support and a lot more help from our government.