Designer Bou Fonua from Tonga exchanged with artisan Rendina Edwards from Nauru to create a bespoke look for The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange - an initiative for established and emerging fashion talent from across the Commonwealth’s 53 countries to showcase the power and potential of artisan fashion skills to deliver new networks, trade links and highlight sustainability.
Bou selected Feta’aki for her design, a papery material made from the bark of the Mulberry tree, and lined with raw silk. The Feta’aki represents 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 tree and signifies wealth and prosperity. The look has been completed with traditionally inspired hand-made jewellery made by Rendina Edwards from Nauru.
The project was launched by Commonwealth Secretary General the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland and Livia Firth, founder of sustainability consultancy Eco-Age and supported by Swarovski, The Woolmark Company and MATCHESFASHION.COM.