Mu‘umu‘u Heaven’s ‘Hana Hou’
Fans of Deb Mascia's retro boho spirit were saddened to hear she closed Mu'umu'u Heaven back in March due to rent inflation, but now they have two places to shop her upcycled apparel and vintage pieces.
After closing her boutique, she refused to answer her phone, which was inundated with calls from concerned clients and nosy reporters. When she finally did check back in, she found one particularly interesting missed call. T Galleria Hawaii by DFS, which had already run successful collaborations with the University of Hawaii at Manoa Department of Apparel Product Design & Merchandising and POW! WOW! Hawai‘i, was interested in bringing her line of new and upcycled apparel fashioned from vintage mu‘umu‘u fabric and aloha wear to its Waikiki clientele.
Her first inclination was to say no, but she agreed to a meeting. By that time, she’d already opened another Kailua shop, Hana Hou Vintage, focused on sharing her vast collection of vintage apparel.
At T Galleria, she said, “I met the whole team, and everyone was so nice, I thought ‘Why not?’”
Then she headed to St. Martin for two weeks. By the time she got home, she found designers had already gone shopping at Re-Use Hawaii to construct the Mu‘umu‘u Heaven popup and showed her plans for an installation that captured the lighthearted energy of her brand.
“They understood my concept and made it very easy to say yes,” she said. The pop-up is slated to be in place through the end of June.
Meanwhile, Hana Hou Vintage in Kailua is home to her "untouchables," a collection of vintage apparel she deemed too good to cut up for her upcycled Mu'umu'u Heaven original designs.
She grew up shopping thrift stores in Melbourne, Australia, and admits to dressing like an "old lady" as a pre-teen, developing her individual style as she went along.
Now, she's thinking about writing a book to create more mindfulness about the value of reuse and recyling, and encourage fans of fast fashion to think about the repurcussions of consuming cheap, wear-once-and-throw-away fashion, with its detrimental cost to the planet.
Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage is in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.