Modern materials in a traditional story

Culture wise - the world came to know Papua New Guinea for its headdress and bare-chest.

“Many still do to this day,” says Molly O’Rourke, chairperson of Miss Pacific Islands Pageant (MPIP) PNG.

She says opportunities such as the pageant puts PNG on a different scale.

“Because we can do more than that (headdress and bare-chest)… This is where these ladies (designers) come in with their different cultures and talents,” she said.

The chairperson further explained that a designer’s role now is to use modern materials but speak a traditional story.

With the aim to encourage this and add creativity to the talent, MPIP PNG is hosting a two day workshop for 11 designers.

The designers will undergo different sessions with two experienced designer/craftsmen -Fijian designer Epeli Rakai Tuibeqa and Tonga’s Sione Maileseni.

“I’m very honoured to be here the second time. We will be assisting each and every designers. I’m looking forward and thankful for the patron to invite us again,” Sione said.

He is a professional weaver. He held his full day session yesterday. Epeli’s session will be on Thursday.

O’Rourke hopes that this will help designers to be more creative with their traditionally inspired dress.

“As years go by, the criteria stays but the level of talent shown by other pacific island designers has gone up to the next level…so in order to win that category, we have to do something that pushes our designers out of their comfort zone,” she said.

Gloria Bauai