Fashion Tribe

Say 'boo' to summer sweats

June 3rd, 2016

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

A chilling ghost story is one way to keep your cool over the summer. This Meiji period (1868-1912) nagajuban, or under kimono, with the sumi ink ghost design, floating from a lantern, typical of the Obon season.

During Obon season, ancestral spirits are said to return for a brief visit, providing the perfect backdrop for ghost stories, and coincidentally, one way to cool down over the long hot summer.

That's because blood vessels on the skin's surface contract when we're frightened, reducing the flow of blood and lowering the skin's temperature, which is why a scary story literally gives some people the chills.

That's just one of the interesting details to absorb from the “No Sweat: How Textiles Help Beat the Heat” summer exhibition at the Honolulu Museum of Art.

The exhibition is an exploration into the ways different cultures dealt with hot climates in terms of clothing choices.

The principles that drove ancient people continue to steer development of technologically advanced fibers and designs. That is, figuring out how to reduce moisture typically retained by clothing, and providing ventilation, something for all Hawaii designers to consider in their fabric choices and engineering.

The full story is in the June 4 Star-Advertiser.
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The Honolulu Museum of Art is at 900 S. Beretania St. Call 532-8700. Open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays through Sept. 18 (closed July 4). Admission is $10 for adults, free for members and ages 17 and younger; also free 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Family Sundays the third Sunday of the month; the first Wednesday each month; and for Hawaii residents with I.D. on Restoration Day July 31.

Hitoe, women's unlined summer kimono employed a gauze weave for physical cooling, and water and garden motifs for a psychological cooling effect.

A bamboo waistcoat from 19th century China was an undergarment that served as a barrier between skin and clothing, providing ventilation and preventing fabric's heat-inducing sticking and clinging.

Ramie fibers are still used in Korea for their absorbent and quick-drying qualities. Ramie cloth in Korea is often referred to as "wings of a dragonfly" because of their transparency, providing ventilation in humid weather.

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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her fashion coverage in print in Saturday's Today section. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

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