Liana and Sonya started out in their parent’s backyard workshop, with one industrial sewing machine, with hard work their business has now blossomed into a recognisable clothing brand Sonlia Fashion that is recognised on all race courses throughout Australia.
In 2001, Liana Alba earned Queensland recognition with a Minister’s Award for Excellence in Art for a piece of wearable art made of coconut fibre. After completing a sewing course,in 2002,at TAFE in Cairns she joined forces with her sister Sonya, a self-taught dressmaker who had gained experience by making clothes for herself for many years, rubbed off from family tradition. Sonlia Fashion has produced so many stunning outfits for endless occasions but that’s not only that Sonlia Fashion has won many awards for their creative and innovative designs including over 100 “Fashions on the Field Awards” throughout Australia, which has earned them a good reputation in Fashion Industry. With over 16 years of experience shared between them their business was mainly focus on mainly order to make one-creations, but as the demands for their unique outfit line grew they are now solely focusing on retail ready to wear outfits and millinery.
In late 2005 they opened their first brand outlet in main street Mareeba where their designs were available to customers.In 2010 their new collection that used Barramundi Leather gained nationwide fame and appreciation and attracted news coverage and newspapers. Sonlia Fashion gives the flexibility of Different colours on unique individual race wear one-off designs.
Liana now has completed a certificate II in Millinery and is enhancing the Sonlia Fashion designs by experimenting with different textures and designs and to give Sonlia race wear thrive for perfection. Sonlia Fashion was proud to dress Karen Doane in early 2010, a sports award nominee, who attended the Emmys in New York, America.
In July 2010 the sisters organised their annual Fashion show in Mareeba, which included fundraiser for Mareeba Maternity Ward and Meals on Wheels. They presented their 90 one-off designs and it was a huge success. $10,300 was donated to Mareeba Maternity Ward
In May 2011 Torb and Reiner, Australia based Millinery Company, brought Waltraud Reiner to Mareeba and held a workshop for 3 days. Liana Hastie attended the workshop and was inspired by the new techniques and ideas, the inspired Liana brought new and exciting creations for 2011.
In July 2011, Sonlia Spring Fashion show was a huge success with a sell-outcrowd. Up to 20 collections shown were up for a grab. New Generation was the new collection for girls from 4-13 years and the models were strutting the catwalk. Also Vintage was a big hit, Sonlia Fashion revamped second hand clothing and transformed them into spectacular race wear. Audrey Hepburn had inspired Sonya and Liana to create a collection using vintage designs, patterns and materials. The raffle money and donation from the sisters went to Mareeba Netball and Mareeba Amateur boxing.
In October sisters went on a trip to the Gold Coast to enter the State finals and Sonya Alba-Miller made it to the top 10 finalists. The Sonlia girls once again travelled to Melbourne for Derby Day and Cup Day, received entry into the Designer section on Cup Day. Their five designs made into the preliminary finals and received lots of attention from the media.
In January 2012,Liana attended a seven day International Millinery Forum which was held at Wagga Wagga, NSW. This week was all about tradeshows and workshops from well know Milliners such as Neil Grigg, Rosie Boylan, Serena Lindeman and Eia Radosavljevic. That brought new inspiration and ideas for the year to come so stay tuned on their next adventure..