Fashion collaborations can help a brand stand out – a concept that emerging label Molly & Grace is hoping to achieve.

Founders Monalisa Owen and Sisi Tasi recently applied to enter the 2018 Pacific Fusion Fashion Show and created four pieces in three days to present to the selection panel.

“Designing is difficult and intense,” says Monalisa.  “It’s also a fun process, starting from a blank A3 visual diary, to a pile of fabric and the end product being a wearable garment.”

“I enjoy it because Monalisa and I can laugh at one another without offending each other,” says Sisi.  “I also like the fact that we have some amazing ideas. Monalisa is very valuable to me and I am honoured that she is my friend.”

Monalisa and Sisi hope PFFS 2018 will open doors for Molly & Grace whose designs they say are whimsical and bold and a nod to two women they admire.

For Monalisa it was 80s teen movie star, Molly Ringwald and for Sisi, it was Jamaican model and singer, Grace Jones.

“I liked the characters Molly Ringwald played in movies,” says Monalisa.  “She wasn’t afraid to be different in her sense of style, and she made her own clothing. In saying that however, both my grandmothers were seamstresses and so it was normal to see a sewing machine on the floor of the lounge growing up.”

“With Grace Jones, I’ve always been fascinated by how she carries herself as a black woman in a world where the definition of normal is in the eye of the beholder,” says Sisi.  “She’s confident in her own skin and whatever she puts on makes a statement.”

The pair say their garments will be worn by women of all shapes and sizes.  Monalisa recently attended from Sewtec Fashion Academy in Auckland and completed the Garment Construction and Patternmaking courses.  Although Sisi has no formal training, neither she nor Monalisa are phased by starting their business venture in their 40s.

“As Pasifika women embarking on this journey at a later age, this is a bold statement to other women that there should be no limitations when you start something.”

“Despite our finances and space, somehow we’ve pressed on,” says Monalisa.  “It’s never limited our creativity, resourcefulness or ability to connect with people we’ve never met who want to support us. We are very grateful for that.”