About Run To Paradise
When an Australian Childhood Collides with Samoan Heritage
The Run To Paradise brand is named after The Choirboys’ 80s Australian classic that we all grew up listening to. My vision is to pay tribute to my childhood, growing up in Melbourne and Brisbane as an Aussie girl with Samoan heritage – sometimes awkwardly – and learning to love being a little different to the other kids.
My Mum Faye is originally from the village of Fa’ala on the island of Savai’i, She is a high chief with the title ‘Papali’i Tele’, passed on from her grandmother’s family, the Malietoa.
During my early years, Mum and her sisters had pretty flamboyant style. They would teach us how to siva like little Samoan girls while they disco danced their way through the 1980s, seemingly without a care. At least that’s how they made it seem, and how they made me feel. So, of course they were my first style icons.
On the other hand, my sister and I tortured Dad endlessly listening to 3XY in the car. Our Sunday nights were spent watching Countdown at Nanna and Pa’s, entrenching a deep love for Aussie music, Molly Meldrum and glam rock costumes. Music was, and always has been my anchor. Why wouldn’t I name the brand after one of my favourite songs?
Run To Paradise captures the fun and free-spirit of an island escape, without having to leave our real lives in the big smoke. - Mel
The thing I most admire about Samoan handicrafts is that people use whatever they have at hand to create imaginative, decorative objects. They cover handbags with clear plastic, with hand-sewn edges in plastic nylon thread and use natural fibres like coconut leaf and raffia. Contrast this to how we live in the big cities. So much of what we buy is overly manufactured and mass produced.
Run To Paradise delivers products with the spirit of village handicraft but with good craftsmanship. Our bags are constructed by professional makers and then hand-finished by those who are close to the Samoan way of life - most often co-founder Mel! Every bag is made with inspiration and heart.
With careful Polynesian fabric selections forming the basis of the designs, we end up with a kind of pop art version of local souvenirs you might find in any pacific marketplace.
Each bag builds on an island cultural foundation with contemporary flair – we’ve incorporated deliberately hand finished raffia edges, but reinforced inside with sewing lines and leather trim. There’s little reference to tourist island motifs such as frangipanis and palm trees.
While the style magic of Run To Paradise comes from a deep sense of fun and nostalgia, there are still modern and urban elements. Each piece is uniquely from my perspective. I’m obsessed with vintage souvenirs, poolside chic á la Slim Aarons, power pattern clashes and plastique fantastique OTT fashion. It’s yacht life brought to the city streets.
Our shirts and tees
The iconic Phillips Shirts is Melbourne’s last remaining shirt manufacturer, with a remarkable vault of unworn (and largely unseen) garments in pristine condition from the 1960s to the 1980s.
On our last visit, it occurred to us that Phillips Vintage classic tees are perfectly suited to the Run To Paradise aesthetic, so we customised a selection to present alongside our first run of accessories.
The collection conjures resort life in the late 1980s and early 1990s, which for us was holidaying in Fiji, Vanuatu, Cairns and Port Moresby. The t-shirts were made in Hong Kong and come with original tags. They are 100% cotton. Each design has been screen printed or embroidered in Fitzroy.
Our floral cotton shirt styles come as they are - essential island attire.