Burning the Midnight Oil to Produce Independence Island Dresses and Shirts

Marie’s Creation — one of the many hardworking mamas burning the midnight oil to meet the high demand by customers. Photo: Jane Joshua

For 57 local women at the Port Vila Center Market, the 40th Anniversary celebrations is a blessing in these challenging times.

The Independence celebration preparations opened up a golden opportunity for the women to generate revenue from hundreds of locals who are preparing to turn up at the flag raising ceremony on July 30, 2020 arrayed in the colours of the national flag.

Many of the women spent the night at the market center, burning the midnight candle to meet the demand of orders above their heads.

“Orders coming in everyday for over last weeks, we are above our heads, but we are managing somehow and determined to meet every single one before July 30, 2020,” one of the vendors said.

“We have orders from the families, individuals, groups and even government ministries.”

She said despite the many orders, the women are so happy because since COVID-19 pandemic and Vanuatu stopped receiving cruise ships, business went downhill for the them.

“Yes, we were also hit hard by losing the tourists and then hope seemed to fade, but God answered our prayers and here we are today blessed with business on the eve of our 40th Independence Anniversary which to us is a blessing from above,” she commented.

On the question of how much an Island dress cost, one of the vendors replied: “An adult island dress is Vt4,000 each, and island shirt is Vt3,000 each and a boy’s island shirt is Vt2,000 each, but different vendors have different prices, otherwise these are the prices some charge”.

As to how much each vendor make per day or per week, one vendor replied: “Vt100,000 a week and some are making more a week, depending on the number of orders you get and how fast you work to make more cash”.

Some of the vendors get an order for up to 60 island dresses a week and some more or less, but this is the average for most of the vendors, another vendor told the Daily Post.

There are island dresses and island shirts ready to be purchased off the hanger, but the bulk of the orders are by groups and or families and also individuals, the women explained.

“If all dresses and shirts already done were to be worn on July 30th 2020 at the Independence celebrations 40th Anniversary in Port Vila, the flag raising ceremony at Independence Park will one of the most colorful events in the history of our country,” one smiling vendor said.

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