Afa Ah Loo is the Samoan designer making waves in the American Fashion scene.
What most people won’t know is that Utah based designer, Afa Ah Loo is more than just a designer.
The former Marketing Manager turned teacher now turned fashion designer (add to that - Samoa Idol 2010 Winner), had no idea that taking the plunge into an industry he knew nothing about would see him recognised on a worldwide stage in such a short time.
Afa appeared in the hit Bravo series Project Runway in 2019. Two years later Ah Loo is making a comeback on "Project Runway Redemption" that started airing on American television last week (trailer below)
Even before his entrance of TV Afa found himself in influencial places in the industry. Two of his pieces featured at the Miss World 2015 Pageant in Sanya, China both in a judged category and the Finale night. A show which was broadcasted live on air in multiple countries around the world.
But discovering his talent was accidental, to say the least.
“I registered late for high school that year and I had no choice but to take home economics,”
“All the other options were full.”
It was at Church College of Western Samoa, a young Afa was taught how to sew a hand mitten - a project that took an entire term for most students, but just a few days for Afa.The same speed and zeal is reflected in the time he takes to make an outfit now.
“It only takes me about a day or two to make a wedding dress,” explained Afa “If it takes me longer, I get frustrated.”
A few years ago when Miss World Samoa contestant Latafale Auva’a contacted him requesting if he could design for her, Afa was already on his way to LA Fashion week.
“I didn’t have much time planned for it, so I made her dresses within three days, I had to send it to New Zealand that same day to get to her before she flew to China.”
Afa’s debut collection was hailed by some Fashion bloggers as their pick of the evening, amongst all the other praise it received.
“Never in a million years did I dream that I would get so much appreciation.” he said
One of Afas famous collections, "Amioga Samoa" was inspired by Afa’s late mother, who was buried the day before he flew out to his first ever showing, in New Zealand.
“My mother was a very stylish woman. She loved bright colours, loved to wear earings,”
“She loved to dance. She was always a bubbly happy go-getter kind of woman.” said Afa fondly.
Her death inspired Afa to take the brave step of starting his own business and following his passion.
“I wanted to carry on the legacy that she had left for me.”
When asked what advice he would give to other young people following their dreams, his message is simple.
"Live a spontaneous life. That's what I do best."
By Indira Stewart (Updated by Coconet)