Hawai‘i Fashion Month 2016

Nov 11, 2016

Manaola is coming on strong! Cultural practitioner, paddler, designer, Manaola Yap from Hawai'i island has this year's juggernaut. Though the company started three years ago, Manaola's culturally rooted approach was a lifetime in the making. It resonates. With a base in hula and Hawaiian music fans, and a store in Ala Moana Center, the company is growing fast online and with international clients.
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November is Hawai‘i Fashion Month, and Honolulu Fashion Week festivities are getting underway at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.  This year’s Fashion Marketplace features nearly fifty designers of jewelry, clothing, and accessories from across the state.  Free runway shows featuring local and international designers run through today and tomorrow.  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa reports.

Lynne O’Neill was born in Honolulu, and after a life in fashion, now produces over a dozen fashion shows per season during each New York Fashion Week. Her clients have included BCBG Max Azria, Herve Leger, Vivienne Tam, and Tommy Hilfiger, among many others. As Executive Producer of Honolulu Fashion Week, she's overseeing 11 full runway shows this year, up from four last year. O'Neill says the time is ripe for fashion in Hawai'i.
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Honolulu Fashion Week continues through Saturday at the Hawai‘i Convention Center, and festivities continue with the opening of South Shore Market at Ward Village Sunday and other activities.  Find links at hawaiipublicradio.org.

HONOLULU Fashion Week Marketplace, runs Thursday, Nov. 10, 5–9 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 11, 11 a.m.–9 p.m.; and Saturday, Nov. 12, 11 a.m.–9 p.m. at the Hawai‘i Convention Center

Find a full schedule for Hawai‘i Fashion Month here.

Dapper Al Tomonari knows fashion, as vice president and general manager of Neiman Marcus Hawai‘i, he helped establish strong local ties for the store.  Now, he is executive advisor to Honolulu Fashion Week, and says Hawai‘i style already influences most international designers.

“Within each of their collections during a spring or summer introduction, you’ll find a Hawaiian print.  Hawai‘i is very very much on the minds of every designer, and designers in Hawai‘i can work to promote that within each of their collections. ”

Peace of Paradise swimwear is all flower petals but light on the typical tropicals.
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People do know and care, says Lynne O’Neill, local girl, one of New York’s top fashion show producers. She’s executive producer of Honolulu Fashion Week, her third year bringing a crack New York team in –-with local ties.

“We work with Roman Young and Bobby Gutierrez, they do casting.  We work with Don Sumada who is from Hilo, Don does styling and I produce fashion shows.  We’ve been lucky to be able to work together in New York and then to be able to come home here to Hawai‘i, it’s like a dream come true.”

Working with professionals ups the game for the many students from HCC and UH Mānoa who are scurrying behind the scenes.  Local tailors, models, dressers, stylists, photographers, hari and make up artists and others get up to the minute mentoring.  And O’Neill has seen progress in three years.

Jana Lam's tasteful prints now adorn handbags and baseball caps along with linens and carryalls.
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“Definitely.  And I’m looking at the New Yok Times and there I see five menswear designers from Hawai‘i redefining the board short or surf wear.  It’s really changed and I really think this is a great moment for Hawai‘i.  People are kind of rediscovering it and so much is going on, it’s not just fashion.”

O’Neill points to the Hawai‘i International Film Festival and growing Hawai‘i Food and Wine Festival as contributors to this new cachet.  So can you describe Hawai‘i style?

Jewelry by Rock Salt Plum, that is, (l-r) Patty Pali from Moloka'i and Darla Simeona from O'ahu have been making jewelry together for years but this is the first time they're going "professional." Pali says they're not trying to create a jewelry empire, she just hopes people enjoy the work and appreciate the love and care that went into it. Check their Instagram.
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“You know it’s casual, but even that, in three years, I’ve really seen a difference.  I’ve seen it become even more fashionable I think.  because of the younger designers now that are designing, it’s Hawai‘i, but it’s really much more modern.  It’s got a more modern twist to it.  Yes, you can see that maybe it’s a more modern style, but you can still see the Hawai‘i influence in it.”

Manaola has some great pieces at the marketplace this year.  It’s their first time, they’re only three years old, says Michael Vossen.

“We’re super excited!  A lot of our clientele, our following, are just local people, the hula scene or Hawaiian music scene.  We’re just growing and growing so we’re hoping people who aren’t familiar with us, this is a chance to get to know us and our design.”

Precisely.  I heard international luxe menswear designer Asaf Ganot, in town this week, has sparked on Manaola’s ‘ohe print designs.  Last year, Todd Snyder picked up Honolulu’s Salvage Public for his new store in New York.  Nice move.  Runway shows by Kini Zamora, Japanese and Korean designers, ahead, plus Hawai‘i Pacific Health presents the Beautiful Survivors Fashion Show Saturday, November 12, 2016, at 8pm.

Kini Zamora's shop in Halawa is doing well, with most recent designs on view here at the Honolulu Fashion Marketplace 2016.
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Believe it or not, there is a local handbag maker you may like! Kahulale'a (http://www.kahulalea.com/) is one of nearly fifty local jewelry, fashion, beachwear, bikini, menswear, and other designers showing this Friday and Saturday, November 11-12, 2016, in the Fashion Marketplace at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.
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