Fashion show breaks down barriers

Members of the Unlocking the Creation in You sewing class will have their collections shown at the Pasifika Fashion Show in Invercargill on Friday.

AN Invercargill woman’s dream of hosting a fashion show will come into fruition this Friday.

Leu Wasasala tutored a sewing class, Unlocking the Creation in You, which consisted of nine women who will showcase their collections at the Pasifika Fashion Show.

The class started in September but the vision to hold a show came to Mrs Wasasala about 10 years ago.

“I was in Auckland at the time but of course over the 10 years I’ve moved from about four cities and each city I thought this is it, this is it, this is it – but nothing happened.”

It was not until she met a young Invercargill woman who was struggling with mental illness, that she felt an “urgency” to start up the sewing class.

“Coming to Invercargill and witnessing the mental health issues happening down here. There is divisions within the community, especially within the Pacific Island community, it hurt me and it annoyed me.”

From this, she decided to create a sewing class which she hoped would help bring people together and change mindsets, she said.

“I love arts and craft and that is how the course turned into a fashion show.

“I started the class as a way to help women learn how to not sweat the small things.”

In the course there was no right or wrong way to stitch, she said.

“This course is about your thought patterns and how you process things rather than the sewing skills.

“So in my sewing classes there is no right or wrong way to sew.”

The free classes were open to anyone within the community, she said.

“It is open to everybody but it has Pacific leads which means everything is done with Pasifika flair.”

There were too many misconceptions about Pacific Islanders, therefore she hoped the event would help break down the barriers.

“There’s a song where it says we all bleed the same, essentially that’s what we need to understand is internally we’re all the same, it’s just the packaging which is a little bit different.”

Student Mavis Ave-Tairea’s collection of a boy with flowers will showcase at the fashion show.

The inspiration behind her two-piece outfits came from her 11-year-old son, Kahm Warren.

“He never understood why boys couldn’t wear flowers, it was supposed to be a shirt but I turned it into a jacket with blue flowers on it and I made a skort to match it.”

Her two outfits addressed topics which were taboo, including gender norms, she said.

“Culturally, men wear flowers around their heads and around their necks. A lot of my garments are addressing the taboo. I have a day outfit which is white with blue flowers and a night which is red with black flowers, so it kind of complements each other.”

She was excited her son would model the garments on the day, she said.

“We have been teaching him you can be different, you do not have to be the same as everybody else because that is what society expects you to be.”

  • The fashion show will be held at the Scottish Hall at 7pm on Friday.