by Euralia Paine
Almost one year ago, an idea was hatched over a cuppa at a seaside café in Port Moresby.
The idea was to stage a fashion show. Not just any fashion show, mind you. But a show to bring together the pool of Papua New Guinean designers to create unique pieces of garments that would be worn by Miss Papua New Guinea, our entrant to the Miss Pacific Islands Pageant.
As the cups of tea flowed freely during the cool breezy afternoon, discussions centred on collaboration; how the designers who are predominantly small women entrepreneurs working in their homes, could be supported with incentives so that they could create pieces according to specific criteria. In this way, Miss Papua New Guinea could meet the judging requirements of Miss Pacific Islands Pageant. This would also be an opportunity for her to shine on the Pacific islands regional stage, most importantly shine the spotlight on our unique designs.
On Saturday July 30, this idea will come to fruition when Miss Pacific Islands Pageant (MPIP) PNG stages its Project Runway bringing together an array of local designers in an extravaganza at The Venetian Room, Lamana Hotel in Port Moresby.
The objectives of the Project Runway are:
- To select a fashion stylist for Miss Papua New Guinea, our entrant to the Miss Pacific Islands Pageant in Samoa in December
- To provide our local talented designers a chance to showcase their work on the regional platform – the Miss Pacific Islands Pageant.
The designers’ participation is three-fold.
- For them to design an outfit which Miss PNG will wear in Samoa in the Traditionally-inspired dress segment.
- For them to design a laplap for the sarong wear segment in Samoa
- For them to design daywear and evening wear which Miss PNG can wear to various events, public appearances and press interviews in Samoa
Local designers have been invited to create pieces in all three or just one or two of the categories.
Their designs should be authentic, and utilise our bold colours; typical of the multi-cultural society of PNG. The designs should also have a distinctly Papua New Guinean feel, whilst incorporating elements from the rest of the Pacific region.
The traditionally inspired outfit category is expected to bring out the Wow Factor; with strict adherence to the use of natural fibre such as bark, feathers, shells, seeds, wood and dried leaves; blended stylishly.
On the laplap/sarong there is strictly no stitching to be done, no pins, no stapling, and no gluing of synthetic material on the fabric. The laplap is to be practically tied for wear to the beach and to be able to swim in, whilst maintaining modesty.
There will be cash prizes including K10,000 for the winning designer who will travel to Samoa as the stylist for Miss PNG at the Miss Pacific Islands Pageant.
Three international judges have confirmed attendance at the Project Runway. One of them is TAV designs (Ellena Maineteremoana Tavioni) from Cook Islands whose designs were worn by Prince William and Kate Middleton on their tour of Solomon Islands in 2012.
The other two are KuiViti (Epeli Tuibeqa) from Fiji who has showcased his outfits at the Los Angeles Fashion Week and; Coco Craftique (Sione Liafail Maileseni) a weaver from Tonga who has displayed his creations at the Style Pasifika Fashion show in New Zealand.
These international designers will conduct a workshop for local designers the day before the Project Runway.
This is an ideal avenue for local designers to take their work to the next level.
Many of our designers are women who operate from their homes. They are small entrepreneurs in a cottage industry who will get a unique opportunity to showcase their designs on a regional platform. Miss Papua New Guinea is a cultural ambassador. When she wears their designs, it will speak volumes for them and for Papua New Guinea.
The Miss Pacific Islands Pageant PNG, through the Project Runway is proud to shine a spotlight on the work and the talent of PNG artists.
The pageant promotes Papua New Guinean culture, values and identity, amongst the emerging generation of Papua New Guinean women, and internationally.
Every year the Miss PNG Pageant aims to select a girl who is the embodiment of the modern Papua New Guinean women, educated and culturally aware, a girl who represents the best that PNG has to offer, with the ability to share the spirit of PNG with others.
An important aspect of the Miss Papua New Guinea Pageant is a scholarship fund which assists young women to complete or continue their education in tertiary institutions throughout the country every year.
In 5 years, since inception of the pageant in 2011, the MPIP PNG has raised over K500, 000.00 and has assisted 152 young women to continue or complete their education in colleges and tertiary institutions.
Education and economic activity as a means to empower women in Papua New Guinea, is a strong value held by the MPIP PNG.
The MPIP PNG is a not-for-profit organisation which stages the annual Miss PNG Pageant with generous support of corporate organisations in PNG.
Buy your tickets for the Project Runway on July 30 from Lamana Hotel or House of Gemini in downtown, Port Moresby.
You will not be disappointed.