‘Little community event’ makes mark on fashion scene

Jannike Seiuli has one major goal with this year’s Pacific Runway – make a splash on the Australian fashion calendar.

The Minto resident founded the annual fashion show, which showcases designers, make-up artists, hairstylists, models and more creative people of Pacific Islander descent.

She’s already well on her way, as the show has sold out of seated tickets (a massive 600) with only standing room remaining.

Pacific Runway is held at Carriageworks in Eveleigh and features a great deal of local involvement, from those in the show to stagehands, photographers and more.

But Ms Seiuli sees it as bigger than fashion – it’s breaking down barriers.

“Often in the media you only see negative things Pacific people do,” she said.

“But there are so many creative people out there – it’s now up to the people of Australia to see what we can do.

“We’re engaging young people and showing them there are so many pathways to take if you have the skills.

“If you’re good with a camera, or good with make-up and love fashion you can chase that dream and steer away from what’s expected.

“Even within fashion, there’s a totally different expectation of what Pacific people should be good at.”

Ms Seiuli said her ‘little community show’ started in Campbelltown in 2012, with an event at Wests Leagues.

It was so successful it grew and grew and last year’s event at Carriageworks turned plenty of heads.

“I was greeting people at the door and someone said to me, ‘wow, this is actually a legit show’,” Ms Seiuli said.

“We’ve invited a lot of fashion bloggers along this year and plenty have agreed to come.

“Some of our models were included in a national fashion college’s showcase last year because people were impressed with what they could do.”

Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Paul Gilham/Getty Images

This year Pacific Runway will get a boost in the form of international sensation Pita Taufatofua.

The Tongan taekwondo competitor became a viral social media star during the Rio Olympics as flag bearer for the Pacific island nation.

“His management reached out to us and said he was interested in doing a fashion show,” Ms Seiuli said.

“So he’ll be walking the runway right alongside our models.”

The fashion show founder said Mr Taufatofua and the show’s other models would help to change the Australian view of fashion.

“This is not just about Pacific models,” she said.

“Our models are people of all ethnicities and backgrounds.

“Pacific Runway is great because it is a fashion show of colour – there should more of them.

“We’re changing what modelling in Australia should look like, not everyone has to look the same.”

Pacific Runway will be held this Friday, October 21 at Carriageworks from 7.30pm.

Standing tickets are still available at www.pacificrunway.com.au.

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