Fashion Tribe

Luncheon features local fashion

July 25th, 2015


"Project Runway" alumnus Kini Zamora will join Manuheali'i designer Danene Lunn and Allison Izu for a special fashion showcase during the 46th annual Hui Makaala Scholarship Luncheon on Sunday at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

Zamora will show a range of day-to-night looks spanning his varied collections, from the casual Hawaiian spirit of his KZ Hawai'i designs to evening gowns and bridal wear; Lunn will share the latest Manuheali'i designs and Izu will present a lineup of mix-and-match separates.



Featuring Allison Izu, Danene Lunn and Kini Zamora

» Where: Hilton Hawaiian Village Tapa Ballroom

» When: Noon Sunday (fashion show at 1:30 p.m.)

» Cost: $75

» Info: Call (808) 551-7868

For Zamora, a designer with a taste for the avant garde, the market reality of life after "Runway" has meant being pulled into every design direction under the sun. A people pleaser at heart, he's not immune to the demand of customers who all have different ideas about what they would like to see from him.

"The range of different customers in Hawaii is so wide. My day wear is for the customer who wants to wear my brand but wants affordable," he said. "I could put out all these couture dresses but the reality is, no one can afford couture and no one is going to wear it every day. No matter what the price point, I still put myself into it."

He entered the bridal world after hearing from women who said they wanted to be more comfortable on their wedding day but couldn't find dresses to fill the bill. So he introduced dresses with the stretch of Lycra.

And, in an economy where practicality reigns, he said, "They want the option of cutting it short and wearing it again." He obliged with looks that can easily be hemmed and look intentional both long and short.

"I see a lot of gowns that are heavily embellished with layers of lace that look so heavy and don't fit in with the beach weddings and simple ceremonies here. I wanted to create gowns with simple silhouettes that are elegant but also sexy."

Career demands have pulled the designer away from home for months, and Zamora admits he's finding it hard to find balance in life.

"As much as I like to do everything myself, I'm lucky to have Dean (Satta) helping me. I have a brand ambassador now, an accountant and sales team that are really helping me bring my vision to life. Mostly, they're family, because that's who I can trust, who can support me in a great way.

"I see my business slowly growing, which is what I want. I don't want go from zero to 2,000 because I've seen that happen to other brands that have failed."

The designer's long absences from home, during which he's been mysteriously incommunicado, raise the question: Is there a "Project Runway: All Stars" or other TV program in his future?

He laughed, offering only that fans will find out in October.

The new season of "Project Runway" premieres Aug. 6 on Lifetime. Season 5 of "All Stars" starts early next year.

KZ Hawai'i designs are available online at Zamora's bridal dresses are available exclusively for $900 to $2,500 at WhiteHot Hawaii, 3457 Waialae Ave., Suite 201, in Kaimuki.


Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage appears in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

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