He has tried his hands at a variety of arts from layout design to painting, and now he is venturing into clothing labels.
Tonight his Sabati clothing label, which features vibrant and colourful shirts with some fresh and unique designs will be launched at The Beachcomber Pearl Market Print Room.
For Andrew, Sabati is a dream project and a passion he held for many years.
“It always been a passion of mine to apply my art to certain avenues, one of them being clothes especially for guys living in the Cook Islands,” he said.
“There aren’t too many options, especially when you have a longer mid-section and taller frame, so it’s pretty hard to find clothes that fits the mid-section with island shoulders.
“I thought, there is need there, I can do that, and I wanted to do it.”
To hone his sewing skills and gain more knowledge about designing clothes, Andrew joined the Cook Islands Training Tertiary Institute’s (CITTI) “Sew a Shirt’ course about two years ago.
The course was a good introduction to the basics of sewing including using a sewing machine, as well as garment construction.
Under the guidance of tutor Tangi Mataroa, Andrew produced three shirts during the four-week course.
“That’s pretty much how Sabati materialised,” he said.
Sabati, which means “Sabbath”, represents the local culture and the Christian religion most people in the Cook Islands follow.
“The name behind the brand has always been there from the beginning. Sabati is about Sabbath, church, culture, history and all other things that we like to gain a better sense for ourselves.
“The design interprets and carries the ideologies behind the label.”
Sabati shirts stand out from the rest of the island designs because of the lively colours Andrew uses in his creations.
He said giving the shirts a distinctive look was no easy task.
“It brought up a good body of work. I have been experimenting with a few things and the hardest part for me was the creative process. Applying screen print to certain fabric sometimes doesn’t work and throwing ideas around, trying to get something tangible proved to be twice as time-consuming. That delayed everything,” Andrew said.
“Trying out different colours is all part of the creative process, that’s trial and error - or just do it and live with it.
“There is so much which you can control and there is so much you can choose from because the palette (the range of colours used in screen printing) is limited and sometimes you just have to let it flow.”
Andrew added that his experience as a painter helped him deal with the diverse colours he used to get the tones and contrasts right.
“Visualisation for me is big so it helps out a lot. It helps to get a fair idea of what might be at the end of the process and sometimes it doesn’t always happen.”
Sabati has been on the market since February this year, selling at the Beachcomber Pearl Market.
It has gained popularity and during his visit to the Cook Islands this year even New Zealand’s deputy prime minister, Winston Peters was tempted to buy himself a Sabati shirt.
“I want people to come to the launch and see (the shirts) for themselves. The launch will feature five or six models, modeling a brand new collection,” Andrew said.
The launch will be held from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.
Andrew thanks the sponsors The Print Room, Beachcomber Pearl Gallery, Turama Photography, CITC Liquor, DJ Junior and Poloa.