Fashion accessories with a Pacific edge


A range of slickly styled bags with distinct Pacific motifs made waves among the 100,000 plus visitors at this year’s Pasifika in Auckland, which is the world’s largest Polynesian festival.<!--more-->

“Poly-inspired bags” are the brainchild of Cook Islands fashion designer Rachel Guinea, who launched the product at the event.

[caption id="attachment_2943" align="alignright" width="250" caption="Rachel Guinea and her range of TeRa bags at PT&amp;I’s Auckland office. Photos: Dev Nadkarni "]<a href=""><img class="size-full wp-image-2943" title="Pasifika 2" src="" alt="" width="250" height="150" /></a>[/caption]

A Hong Kong resident for a decade and a half, this is Rachel’s second foray in taking the Pacific to the world: some years ago, she launched a range of Pacifica inspired t-shirts for the Asian market under her company’s brand name TeRa, which means “the sun” in the Cook Islands Maori language.

The new line of bags is also branded TeRa and sports striking Pacifica motifs, mainly of the floral kind. The styling and finish of the bags is sophisticated and what makes them stand out and look different from the rest are the bold and colourful Pacifica motifs. “They are ideal for the Australia and New Zealand holiday environment. In fact they would have an appeal in any holiday spot, particularly those around beaches,” Rachel says.

“The response was indeed encouraging. The interest was high and we sold quite a bit of our stock,” she told Pacific Periscope. The range comprises small purses, larger handbags, shoulder bags, totes and even backpacks. The price for a typical tote was NZ$75 at Pasifika.

Rachel is in the process of identifying retail outlets around Auckland and would like to see the product in other cities around New Zealand and later in Australia and further afield. She said she was in talks with a chain of stores.

Her biggest challenge was to find a vendor who would supply her with the wide range she needed. “Living in Asia and trying to find a manufacturer who will agree to take on small orders was most challenging,” she says. Contractors in Asia are used to big production numbers and are known to refuse small runs.

The TeRa range of bags is available for purchase from her website, which she administers from her home base in Hong Kong. While Rachel works on retail arrangements in New Zealand and Australia, the TeRa range of bags is also available from family and friends in Australia and New Zealand. A store in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, is where one can see and buy the TeRa range of products.

Rachel is working hard to promote her TeRa range of bags and would like to see it grow to be the “Louis Vuitton of the Pacific,” she says.