Q & A with Litiana Vere
Student designer Litiana Vere works part time as a translator speaking pidgin and Bislama (PNG/Vanuatu) for a research company.
She has studied graphics and has yet to finish her diploma in counselling, she also has a side hustle makeup business and is slowly building a H&MU team so she can focus on furthering and finishing studies.
Litiana is Fijian/Samoan and has a big family of 17 siblings. She loves anything arty, being at the beach and in the sea, music and food
What is the inspiration behind your collection?
With this years theme 'Celebrating women of Fiji' and tying in the legend of 'Burotukula' a story depicting beautiful Fijian women who once inhibited the invisible island (named Burotukula) I'm tying in my collection 'Waikava'.
I draw inspiration from hardworking, stern, reputable, beautiful women from my upbringing alongside the legend 'Burotukula' and with women of Fiji in general.
With that in mind, the colour board I chose to work with for my collection are red, pink and magenta. I feel that these colours project power and strength in femininity. Most of my pieces are for evening wear, mixed with prints and block colours.
My prints tell a story of me as an individual, using Fijian and Polynesian motifs with taro leaves symbolising women from my maternal side. The Fijian motifs that are in the centre of my print symbolises Fijian values, cultures and teachings taught to me by these women that are deeply rooted in me.
The Polynesian prints/motifs symbolises me as a women and shows a bit of my identity. So with this years collection I wish to project and celebrate the power and strength of (a woman) women through my prints and garment designs.
2021 Tropical Chaos collection
What is the significance of your label name?
L.V is the initials of my given name Litiana Vere but the fuller version of this given name which I partially hold is Litiana Verenavanua. Adi Litiana Verenavana is a reputable woman in my family who is my 3rd great grandmother who hails from Viseisei,Vuda. Being given that name I celebrate her life/history and story by naming my brand/label after her (and me).
How has the WFJ mentoring program helped develop your brand?
Being part of last years mentoring program continuing with this year, it has definitely been an eye opener for me. The program touched base on important key information and knowledge that was vital for any emerging designer to understand when venturing in to the fashion business.
I was able to redirect my views and thoughts on fashion. Before joining the program I had no clue of how to start and where to start, I didn't quite understand how the fashion industry worked, I thought it was all about creating couture like fashion outfits and inventing fancy different patterns all the time.
But through the program I was able to understand where to direct my focus and how to start. With learning to work on smaller scales, understand who my clientele market is/will be (potential market targets/ages/gender etc), understanding textile (texture and fabric), pattern making, measurements, social media & PR, business and branding. With all the knowledge gained from the mentoring program I was able to have a clear idea of what my brand was going to be and who my market target would be.
As a make up artist does that background help envision your designs and final looks?
The makeup and fashion industry is mostly about beauty, glamour and making a statement and with being a makeup artist you get to work with local and overseas clients attending different functions, events and weddings, you are to create a look that compliments their outfits with matching shoes and accessories. With that experience and having dealt with diverse range of clients, it does help greatly when putting together my design and and how I envision my final looks to be.
What are 3 technical things you've learnt from your mentor Robert Verebasaga?
I was really privileged to be mentored by Robert Verebasaga who holds an associate degree in Fashion Design and Technology. Robert is very meticulous with his work and has helped me understand and appreciate the importance of little details in a garment.
Starting with the basic things from sketching adding the small details to my sketches like darts, princess lines, hidden zips etc which helps as I share my ideas and designs to tailors and seamstresses enabling them to understand my designs and patterns and getting a favourable end result of the garment after production.
Understanding the different types of fabrics and what patterns suits which fabrics, understanding where the prints flow and how you are to cut and lay the pieces out for your garments. And most importantly the finishing touches that would determine a high end garment or low end garment, like using facing, lining, overlocks and all these little yet essential details in producing the best, end product for my garments.
Robert Verebasaga and Litiana Vere
What is your personal style?
I would say my personal style is, simple, plain (yet elegant) with comfort and very feminine.
My local fashion influences are definitely Hupfeld Hoerder, Samson Lee and Robert Verebasaga. And for international influences that would be Elena Tavioni (TAV Pacific) and Manaola Yap (Manaola Hawai'i),and a most recent fashion icon i admire a lot would be the Duches of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.