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Hawaiʻi Fashion Designer Prepares to Hit the Runway at New York Fashion Week

Courtesy of Micah Kamohoaliʻi

A Waimea fashion designer has scored a prestigious invite to this year's New York Fashion Week.

New York City is familiar to Kumu Hula Micah Kamohoaliʻi. He did a show at the New York Botanical Garden three years ago, where he also made connections to bring his fashion to the Big Apple.

His label, Dezigns by Kamohoaliʻi, is recognizable for its traditional roots — he comes from a long lineage of kapa makers.

Kamohoaliʻi has been invited to this year’s New York Fashion Week at the Runway 7 Fashion showcase. His designs, including last year’s Grammy dress worn by his cousin Amy Hanaialiʻi, hit the runway at Sony Hall near Times Square on Sept. 9.

Courtesy of Micah Kamohoaliʻi
Amy Hanaialiʻi at the 62nd Grammy Awards on January 26, 2020

The Conversation caught up with the busy fashion designer as he prepared for the big trip.

"It's all just happening so fast from getting the announcement to booking flights and accommodations, and then getting into rehearsals and everything," he said. "There's 30 of us going. We've been trying to hook up with sponsorships from Hawaiian organizations, from the County of Hawaiʻi, from anybody and everybody who wants to help us — we'll take it," he added.

Kamohoaliʻi also works as a genealogist and cultural director for the Waimea Hawaiian Homesteaders' Association, but this past weekend he became a junior firefighter when a historic wildfire impacted his community on Hawaiʻi Island.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Aug. 3, 2021

Lillian Tsang is the senior producer of The Conversation. She has been part of the talk show team since it first aired in 2011. Contact her at ltsang@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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