Both the Fiji Corrections Service and Fashion Week (FFW) made history on November 23 when it featured the work of an inmate at a fashion week.
Jessica Hill’s collection, , was launched at FFW’s Oceans Gala show, which gathered over 200 private guests hosted by the European Union.
Hill first made an appearance at the Fiji Corrections Service Kirisimasi Vaka Viti faship Show in December 2019 where she with many other designers from the Suva Womens Corrections Center showcased their designs.
At the Fashion Gala held recently, she made a brief appearance as her work was presented to the 300-plus guests at the European Union Residence in Suva.
The show featured the work of four other designers and celebrated a marine theme as the event was in celebration of the International Year of the Oceans.
Hill paid tribute to the vision of the FCS and the Yellow Ribbon Program for giving inmates the will to dream and opportunity to learn even when behind bars.
“I never knew anything about clothing, fashion or designing before I was incarcerated 5-years ago,’’ said Ms Hill.
“Life for me 5-years ago is very much different tonight, I feel so proud and happy that my family is here to support me.”
FFW managing director, Ellen Whippy-Knight, said Hill’s efforts t
ook two years of work with the Fiji Corrections Service, and was a testament to the success of the Yellow Ribbon project.
“Jessica comes out with a new set of skills that makes her an international brand when she completes her sentence,” Mrs Whippy-Knight said.
Ms Hill paid tribute to Linda Walker, an Australian based volunteer for the FCS who convinced her to start designing and learn to sew in 2018.
“Then Ellen Whippy came along and also Amanda Harmen, some very important people who have transformed the lives of women at Suva Corrections.
“We owe you a lot, and also to the leadership of FCS and the officers who have helped motivate and guide us every day when initially we all think prison is a very dark place.
“But what we realized it’s a place that allows you to reinvent yourself and understand why you did wrong in the first place and to always seek forgiveness and accept your mistakes.”
“I look forward to designing more in future.”