Fashion workshop underway in Alotau

Local designers in Milne Bay Province have been given a chance to refine their talents and skills through a fashion workshop.

Facilitated by the PNG Fashion & Design Week, the 13-day workshop, which started on Monday, October 12th, has opened its doors to not only young designers but people living with disabilities as well.

The event, which is ending on the 27th, had initially registered 30 participants. However, 14 more were accepted due to their keen interest in the fashion industry and the potential it holds for budding entrepreneurs in the tourism sector. Furthermore, among the eager participants are six people living with disabilities.

Founder of PNG Fashion and Design Week, Janet Sios, said the capacity building and skills development training has been held on an annual basis since 2016. And in the last three years, the program was able to reach other provinces thanks to a partnership with the Australian government.

“We went to Lae, East New Britain – Kokopo and now we’re in Moresby as well as Alotau and Goroka,” Sios stated.

Sios praised the raw talents who had already captured their attention. With the help of lead designer Anna Amos, the participants will acquire skills that will enable them to not only speak through their designs, but also generate revenue for themselves.

“We’re giving them those kind of skills so that they don’t do meri blouse on a daily basis; they do other clothing that can be targeted for their clients throughout PNG and at the same time, it would be really good for the tourists that come into this province.

“They will be spending nine days with Anna Amos with the fashion design and garment and textile construction. From there they’ll go on to another two days with Mary Handen, who’s a senior accountant in the country. She’ll be carrying out business skills with them; how they can register their businesses, how they can open bank accounts, how they’re supposed to lodge their returns every year and basic information on budgeting and really managing their books on a daily basis.

“And then from there we got two more days of branding and marketing with Christopher Vagalia – one of the leading ICT brains in the country.”

Sios noted an increase in demand for the skills that are being taught. For example, the PNGFDW had initially planned to train 150 people in the centres of Lae, Kokopo and Port Moresby. However, as was the case in Alotau, exceptions had to be made, with the program taking in 94 participants in Lae, 118 in East New Britain and 100 in the nation’s capital.

(A local vendor showing PNGFDW founder, Janet Sios, her product at the Wanigili Centre)

Carmella Gware