/ Arts & Entertainment / The brand in the name – Fashion Designer Danitta Lilly Fretton

The brand in the name – Fashion Designer Danitta Lilly Fretton

 

APIA, SAMOA – MONDAY 08 MAY 2017: As if naturally cut for the part, what has become her brand name – JoLi Elei – is a mixture of names of the women in her family infused into four letters. That’s fashion designer Danitta Lilly Fretton.

Hailing from the villages of Vaiusu, Vaigaga, Faleata, Fasito’o-uta, her Dad “sparked the passion of the arts and colour into my life. My mother is my inspiration when it comes to hard work. My aunty always inspires me to work hard, travel, inspire others & never stay the same place all your life.”

She got into designing after graduating from the Westfields Sports High School in 2014.

“I loved experimenting with colours and prints. That grew into a passion for designing clothing especially ladies wear. As a young girl, I loved watching Pacific women being proud of their heritage and representing it on any stage, path and destination that. Whether it be rocking a sei or the latest island style dress. It was more than just a passion for fashion or a love for clothing, it was to portray one’s identity especially living outside of the islands. It was my way of showing who I am.”

The best part about being a designer:
“Has to be watching your creations unravel from the material choice, to printing the material, to creating the garment and then seeing it on your customer, a model or even yourself. The finished product is the best part of it all. Another perk of being a designer is meeting people. My customers are just amazing individuals and most of the time we end up befriending one another and always keep in contact. Just meeting so many people from all different walks of life is a really cool part.”

Best memory about SSFS:
“Was meeting all the Talent Samoa had to offer. From the makeup artists, hair dressers, models, volunteers and designers. Also seeing all the designs, prints, concepts/collections come to life on the runway.”

Danitta’s work
SSFS16 show
Designer: JoLi Elei
Photographer: Laumei (Caroline Bell

What you wish you knew before you first started out:
“That you don’t have to be as hard on yourself as this is art not work! Also with the business aspects, I have learnt a lot which things I could not have learnt anywhere else are.”

Do you sell at a shop/department store/online:
“I run everything from home. From a home based workshop to showroom/office and all communication and sales are made online.”

Most grateful that:
“I am grateful for the individuals who were supportive of my dream and aspirations for JO’LI when it seemed like a mere idea and never gave up on and to my customers who continue to support the art, dream and small business. All glory to God!”

Colour that best represents you:
“Blue, Aqua, Turquoise Hues.”

Fashion shows you’ve been a part of:
“In 2015 was the year JO’LI branched out into designing and fashion. I was involved in the Grace on Lepou Fashion Show, Samoa Sinnet Fashion Show and the Pacific Fashion Runway Show.”

Would you recommend Samoa Sinnet Fashion Show to other aspiring designers:
“Yes. I highly recommend it! SSFS was my first international fashion show and as daunting as it was for myself. It was an awesome learning experience.”

Advice for aspiring designers:
“To have fun with the entire experience and soak it all up. It was loads of fun. Never be afraid to speak up. Just be yourself and be proud of your collection!”

Have you received jobs after showcasing for SSFS:
“Yes. I received a lot of publicity especially on social media that attracted many customers.”

Biggest challenge as a designer:
“My biggest challenge would be to spark up new designs as the competition of Pacific/Polynesian designers has risen within the last couple years.”

The next step in your journey:
“To bring forth new Pacific inspired prints and designs.”

One thing people misunderstand about you:
“My age and my intelligence. As I am much younger than others and some are led to believe I am young and naive. When my heart and passion is really put into what I do and love.”

Danitta’s work
SSFS16 show
Designer: JoLi Elei
Photographer: Laumei (Caroline Bell)

You believe:
“In God, love, second chances and that traveling is the best education and laughter is the best medicine.”

You want to be remembered for:
“I want to be remembered for my work, character and what I contributed.”

Any other fun facts about you that you’d like to include:
“I love volunteer work. I am the eldest of 2 children in my family. My brand name is a mixture of names of the women in my family infused into four letters. My dad sparked the passion of arts and colour into my life. My mother is my inspiration when it comes to hard work. My aunty always inspires me to work hard, travel, inspire others & never stay the same place all your life.”

Your current project if you’re working on one:
“My current project is creating a brand new collection unlike any other I have brought up before and trying our new concepts.”

Do you think you’ll retire or move onto something else:
“I will never retire what I do; I create. Whether it be creating garments, fashion, elei, art, handicrafts, materials or experiences. I will always do what I do. It may take the back seat for a little while but it will always find its way back to me.”

You can follow Danita Fretton on: Facebook: Danitta Lily www.instagram.com/jolielei @jolielei

If you’d like to register as a designer for Samoa Sinnet Fashion Show on July 14th, Taumeasina Island Resort: Contact SSFS on their Facebook page “Samoa Sinnet Fashion Show” or by email samoasfs@gmail.com

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