A design by a Tongan fashion designer was displayed at Buckingham Palace last week as part of the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange.
The event was hosted by The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.
Bou Fonua Tanginoa, who designed the work, said the experience was priceless. She said she met some great designers from around the world and had more potential to participate in further events.
She said she has chosen feta’aki for her design, a papery material made from the bark of the Mulberry tree lined with raw silk.
She said it represented the cultural wealth of Tonga, dating back many centuries and used as a sign of respect in gift giving.
“The silk is also made from the mulberry trees and signifies wealth and prosperity,” Tanginoa said.
“The look has been completed with traditionally inspired handmade jewellery made by Rendina Edwards from Nauru.”
Designers were required to choose partners with another country in the Commonwealth to work together and Tonga was paired with Nauru.
She designed the gown and the artisan from Nauru provided the jewellery.
She said she was invited to represent Tonga in the event last December.
International media reports said the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange aimed to create partnerships between designing talent in Commonwealth countries.
Tanginoa said she was given £1000 to spend on her participation including the materials for her gown and airfare.
“We are fortunate to have close family in the London to stay with,” she said
“Most definitely the experience is priceless and at the same time I have met some great designers from around the world and have more potential to participate in further events in different parts of the world,” she told Kaniva News.
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