THE recently Pacific Balanced Fund Project Runway is seen as an ideal platform to provide designers an opportunity to showcase their outfits, as well as Papua New Guinea’s unique ethnic and tribal designs.
The event was organised by the Miss Pacific Islands Pageant (MPIP) PNG on Saturday August 12 at the Crowne Plaza, in Port Moresby. Designers, many of whom were women who worked from home, were invited to create outfits in day and eveningwear category, sarongwear category as well as the traditionally inspired dress (TID) category.
There were cash prizes and the winner of the traditionally inspired dress category will travel to the regional Miss Pacific Islands Pageant in Fiji in December.
In addition, a designer from the Project Runway is allocated to each contestant in this year’s Miss Pacific Islands Pageant PNG to design their outfits. Designers participating in the Project Runway also received training at a workshop conducted by overseas designers brought to PNG.
The objectives of the Project Runway were:

  • To select outfits for Miss Papua New Guinea at the regional Miss Pacific Islands Pageant in December
  • To help local women showcase their designs on a regional platform.
  • To create awareness for the MPIP PNG scholarship fund, which helps young women.

This year 11 designers took part:

  • Annette Sete – Lavagirl (East New Britain-based designer who owns Maku Gifts)
  • Tetiyanah Copeland – Yanah
  • Yaku’sau No  – PNG Fashion International (lives in North Carolina, USA)
  •  Natasha Tamanabae – Baiwa
  •  Miriam Xkenjik – DeStyles
  •  Cynthia Chapman – Seragoda
  •  Anna Amos – A A Tribal
  •  Elizabeth Omeri – Denani
  •  Luania Temu – U’itiki
  •  Tabu Pelei Warupi – Tabu
  •  Genevieve Igara-Falevae – Wantok Clothing

About 40 models were involved.
The chairperson of the Miss Pacific Islands Pageant (MPIP) PNG Committee, Molly O’Rourke, said Project Runway was drawing attention to and creating awareness of the pageant and its scholarship fund.
“We aim to select a girl who is the embodiment of the modern Papua New Guinean woman, both educated and culturally aware. We also want to select a girl who represents the best that PNG has to offer, with the ability to share the spirit of PNG with others.
“Most importantly, the MPIP PNG raises funds for a scholarship which assists young women to complete or continue their education in tertiary institutions throughout the country every year.”
The project has raised over K600,000 since 2011 and has provided scholarship to 193 young women around the country.
O’Rourke added: “We believe strongly in education as a means to empower young women in PNG. With Project Runway, we believe we are contributing to economic empowerment of our women.”

Best Sarong Wear (K3000) – Yanah Copeland
Best Daywear (K3000)    – Natasha Tamanabae
Best TID (K4000 & a trip to Fiji to be a stylist for Miss Papua New Guinea) – Genevieve Igara-Falevae (Wantok Clothing)
The other nine designers each received a consolation price of K2000.