A top Samoan designer will feature in this year’s London Pacific Fashion week in September.
Cecilia Keil is the first local designer from Samoa to receive an invitation and showcase at a special event during the London fashion week.
For her this is in line with not only her business vision but a personal mission to reclaim indigenous Samoan designs.
“It’s important for Samoa and its designer industry because it’s going to give us more exposure in Europe and also we are gaining experience as designers. As a Pacific islander and Samoan designer seeing how our art has been copied, mass produced. It’s important that we band together to go as a group and hopefully standing together in a solidarity we can be heard and seen,” she said.
“So that’s why I really want to get out there and expose Samoan art and design. There’s a lot of culture mining going on with big businesses overseas who see us as a minority on the grander stage – they are taking advantage of us because they can.”
She says that the cost to attend the event is ‘giving her sleepless nights’. But she is grateful that members of the business community and N.G.O's have put up their hands to help her get to the London Pacific Fashion week.
“Samoa participating at this event at a top level is going to have benefits across the board, its not just about our industry – we have a chance to give our island more positive exposure to Europe which can benefit any industry not just ours.”
Hoping to raise $20,000 tala to attend the international fashion event in Europe, Keil has received some pledges of assistance from the local business community. The registration fee alone is a major expense, though she revealed Events Marketing and Distribution (E.M.D) have offered to pay half of her registration fee,
“I’m hoping to raise $20,000 tala to go towards the trip, the registration is $6000 and that’s with a discount. The Pacific designers are aiming to share accommodation for a week to keep the costs down which is going to help a lot in keeping the costs down. And then of course return airfares are a big part of the expense.”
But the expense will be worth it according to Keil,
“Standing together with other Pacific designers and showcasing at the international level at London Fashion week is going to be powerful. There will be a lot of top level designers and people from the industry there and it’s important for us Pacific Island designers to be noticed.”