By Nadine Kam
Gov. Neil Abercrombie at right with Akiko Shinoda, international director of Tokyo Fashion Week and some of the Japan-based artists and designers who will be helping to stage Honolulu Fashion Week, one of the Hawai'i Fashion Month events coming up in November. — Photo courtesy Paul Leo Klink-Harada
In an event within an event, Hawai'i Fashion Month will be getting a boost from counterparts in Tokyo, Milan and New York.
The announcement was made at the Pagoda Hotel on Friday, where Akiko Shinoda, international director of Tokyo Fashion Week was introduced to talk about collaborations between visiting guest designers Saturdays Surf NYC, Maison Kitsune, Mr.Gentleman, and Corto Moltedo, and local designers/artists Sig Zane, Kaypee Soh and Heather Brown. Their collaboration lines will be unveiled Nov. 7 and 8, now that Hawai'i Fashion Month has been pushed back a month.
The partnership with Tokyo Fashion Week and the international designers is intended to be a catalyst for introducing Hawaii fashion to the world.
Shinoda helped to raise points as to why fashion is important for the entire community's economic well-being. She said fashion is important for any country. "They all invest a lot in the industry," she said, because fashion helps lead a country's prosperity, and influences other industries. As an example, where would Apple be today without great design? And all indicators suggest Apple will soon be among the tech companies entering the fashion fray.Artful cuisine will be a part of the collaborative event. Pictured here, Kona kampachi with salt-cured kelp, white sesame and Hawaiian rock salt, was among the dishes served to whet our appetites for November.
In Japan's case—the fifth fashion capital in the world after New York, Paris, London and Milan—the government and private sector companies have committed to invest $50 million dollars over 20 years to help Japanese companies in the cultural sector expand overseas. Hawaii may very well be a part of that effort, even as we aim to export fashion and lure fashion tourists from Japan.
Shinoda said that Hawaii needs an industry for the future, and fashion will help propel Hawaii's image—still mired in kitsch to many outsiders—going forward. "I believe Hawaii has potential for the future," she said, adding, "You do not need to create Paris or New York in Hawaii. You need to bring out Hawaii's characteristics."
With so many of us caught up in the daily act of survival, rather than the theoretical, she anticipates a "Third Wave" of Hawaii design with contemporary lines infused with a sense of nature.
It will be interesting to see what comes out of these new partnerships.