Samoa’s new Fashion line

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi ,

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HIGANO collection is the second line from TAHIANO fashion house. Photos / Supplied.

HIGANO collection is the second line from TAHIANO fashion house. Photos / Supplied.

Tahiano officially launched their fashion house by showcasing their new line of elegant and perfect fit garments last weekend at the Traveller's Point Hotel.

Hans Wesche from Letogo Iva, Savai’i and Faleula, together with Alvis Augustine Meredith, from Vaimoso, are the creative force behind the fashion house.

According to these up and coming young designers, it’s time for Samoa to take the lead in the Pacific fashion world.

“We just pushed ourselves hard for this show and we collaborated with the Mauga Lui girls because we met the girls at the Sinnet fashion show and then we just thought why not take a chance to launch our own show? So here we are,” said Alvis. 

“Hopefully all goes well and definitely everyone can expect new stuff from us. Fashion is always progressive and I feel sad for Samoa, it’s time for fashion designers in Samoa to take the lead and not just have Fiji do everything. A lot of people have been coming out with the new styles, at least with us doing this it might motivate and inspire others to do the same.”

Hans Wesche, whose Tokelaun roots inspired the name Tahiano, said the fashion house specialises in gowns which broadly covers wedding, ball and corporate wear. As a first here in Samoa, they have also designed jumpsuits for men.

 What the designers enjoy doing most of all is creating garments that are affordable but look a million dollars. According to them, with the combination of imagination and experimenting, one can look expensive while still being on a budget.

“You’ll also see that we have used suiting fabric just to show case and advocate that you can really get something that is a 100 percent made in Samoa and Tokelau,” said Hans. “So we really want to emphasise to our people abroad that they don’t have to go to mainstream Otara or Otahuhu to find their clothing, they can order it from here. Online is really easy now.

“We try to tell people you don’t have to get expensive material from overseas,” Alvis added. “We already have a wholesale market here where they can actually buy a cheaper material and we will show that there is a range of cheaper materials where we can transform them by making something that looks expensive. For me, I just think its lack of imagination and variety of materials used.”

HIGANO collection is the second line from TAHIANO fashion house. Photos / Supplied.
HIGANO collection is the second line from TAHIANO fashion house. Photos / Supplied.

Tahiano’s signature style is a fusion of Samoan and Tokelauan elei print patterns as well as incorporating modern elegance to create garments that embrace the female form in all shapes and sizes.

“I think our style is very different where we use a lot of different variety of fabrics we try and utilise them to showcase the different kind of elei patterns that we have,” said Hans. “On different fabrics, you have to use different paints. What you will see will showcase a lot of Samoan and Tokelauan elei just to represent who we are.

“We are proud to showcase elegance and perfect fit, so every garment that was made has been measured to every part of the curve of the model just to depict a perfect fit. It’s only our second line but it’s better than the last one, so yeah we’re really excited.”

The designers aim to target a niche market of elegant corporate Samoan styles and while it is a smaller market, it has a huge demand and Tahiano already gets a lot of order from overseas, from ladies wanting to look for that corporate look without sacrificing their femininity and hiding their curves.

House of Tahiano pays tribute to the long time established Samoan fashion houses who paved the way for the new generation of designers and says to expect something fresh and different to come out of Tahiano compared to what is already out there on the main streets of Apia. 

“With the fashion houses that are already established in Samoa, we have so much respect for them,” said Hans. “They literally paved the way for us designers so that we have something to measure up against, not copy them but to make something different and build on what they have started. We believe and know that what we have produced is not already out there in the market, it’s not in the main street of Apia where you tend to see the same thing and we will be bringing something fresh.”

The event was well attended by supporters and fashionistas a like and at the end of the fashion show, attendees were invited to an open shop featuring clothing and accessories on sale from both Tahiano and Maunga Lui. 

Hans and Alvis aim to take their designs to international fashion shows in the near future.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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