The Le-Ata Brand is an ethically and eco-conscious brand based out of Tonga. Le-Ata is named after the founder, Leata Mailo-McCarthy, a mother of two, who owns, operates and is the designer of the brand.  “The brand, Le-Ata, is inspired by love for family, heritage and passion for design, creativity and culture,” Mrs Mailo-McCarthy says.

Le-Ata offers a comprehensive range for women, men and children’s clothing, homeware, handbags, totes, wallets and cosmetic purses. In addition, there’s the Le-Ata Jewellery; earrings, studs and Tongan Mabe pearls, as well as Ofa Atu Oils including Tamanu and virgin coconut oil.

The garments are designed, cut, handprinted and then all sewn in Tonga. All off cuts are recycled and reused to make reusable shopping bags, wallets, make-up bags.

The brand is known in fashion circles after showcasing in runway shows in American Samoa, Tonga and at Fiji Fashion Week.

Le-Ata was established in 2007 when Leata took a break from university to have her first child. She started off selling in a garage in New Zealand and then extended to Flea Markets and onto online sites like TradeMe.

In 2011, the family moved to American Samoa where she successfully launched an online store where she sold her products worldwide.

The biggest stepping-stone was opening her physical store in Nuku’alofa in 2014, after they moved to Tonga in 2012.

From doing everything by herself back in 2007 to now having a team of seven staff working in Tonga for the production.

Le-Ata has grown from fashion garments, textiles to now having her own line of jewellery and now her latest addition to Le-Ata brand is Natural Skin care products called ‘Ofa Atu Naturals.

Le-ata, with a dash in the middle, gives the significance of ‘The images’ or ‘The Smile’. It is the essence of the designs that the images incorporated into the garments may be able to communicate love and passion for her culture and heritage.

A Samoan now residing in Tonga for the past six years, Mrs Mailo-McCarthy takes pride in her identity, not just a Samoan but a Pacific Island woman. This is reflected in her flair for fashion as she aims to use this platform to promote a contemporary fusion of fashion and her Pacific culture and heritage through Elei Printing from Samoa and Kupesi Printing in Tonga.

Mrs Mailo-McCarthy says ‘Elei’ is an ancient art deeply rooted within the Samoan and Tongan culture which she has adopted the traditional concept and merge with a contemporary fusion.

Every piece is thoughtfully designed with an incorporation of hand printed designs that reflect Pacific island motifs, primarily Tongan and Samoan.

Le-Ata products are available at retail outlets locally and internationally including Tonga’s International Airport, Tanoa Dateline Hotel Nuku’alofa, Brisbane, American Samoa, Samoa and Auckland.

Le-Ata will feature at PTI NZ’s Path to the Pacific Trade Show on April 6 at The Cloud.

For more information email Ian Furlong, PTI NZ Trade Development Manager on ian.i@pacifictradeinvest.co.nz

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