TAV's name is derived from that of the company's founder and Managing Director, Ellena Tavioni, a designer from a family of artists: sculptors, carvers, painters and poets who have influenced her life and work. Her career in the clothing industry began in 1980 and she opened her first store at the age of 19. Realising she needed experience in the fashion industry, she went on to study fashion design at the Melbourne College of Textiles for three years and obtained further skill by working in the clothing industry in Melbourne for an additional 2 years prior to returning to the Cook Islands and creating her dream - TAV.
Established in 1987 TAV the brand represents the romance and escapism that is the mood of the Pacific by utilizing traditional motifs, such as sea life, flora and fauna patterns in print designs - namely block printing, hand painting and dip dyeing all of which are done by hand using various fabric paint and techniques. Printing is labour intensive using natural sunlight to dry prints prior to heat setting.
In 1994 TAV undertook the manufacturing of swimwear and further developed the resort-wear concept. This included the construction of a new building, the purchase of special machinery, consultants, staff training, the development and advancement of new printing techniques, promotional material for marketing abroad and continuous market analysis. Tav employs 20 staff with responsibilities ranging from printing, hand painting, pattern making, cutting, seamstress, finishing, quality control, retail, and administration. All employees are trained on the premises.
What we do:
TAV specialises in Resort wear / Ready-to-wear with an emphasis on prints and designs derived from the natural environment and Polynesian traditions. TAV also tailors swimwear.
As each piece of fabric is created on the island of Rarotonga, TAV is able to produce orders of any size either small or large. The range of clothing is considered to be unique, comfortable to wear, of good quality and of medium to up-market in standard.
Latterly TAV has identified the export market as its focal point. Tourism has been a major influence in providing this direction and the move towards swimwear and resort wear. The export market is now TAV's major source of income followed by the visitor market to the Cook Islands. Sales to the local market are also a vital part of Tav's business.
TAV now exports to Australia, New-Zealand, Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa and other Pacific Islands. The label has also been exported to countries as far as London, the South of France and the United Arab Emirates.
For the past couple of years, TAV has participated in New Zealand Fashion Week, a major achievement for the company which Ellena regards as one of the highlights of her career.