Archive for the ‘Aloha wear’ Category

Uniqlo-'IOLANI collaboration line due in May

January 22nd, 2014

uniqlo:iolaniUniqlo designers used prints and artwork from 'IOLANI Sportwear's archives, dating as far back as the 1960s, for the collaboration 'IOLANI Hawaiian Classics Collection, due in May. Many prints were scaled down to appeal to Uniqlo fans around the globe. The collection won over the fashion press during an earlier preview in Paris.Uniqlo photos

Uniqlo may not be coming to Hawaii any time soon, but a piece of Hawaii will be traveling to 1,200 Uniqlo stores around the globe this summer thanks to a collaboration between longtime kama'aina company 'IOLANI Sportswear, and the Tokyo-based apparel giant.

The announcement was made earlier  today during a news conference from the JFW-International Fashion Fair’s Hawaii Pavilion in Tokyo, where ‘IOLANI is one of several local clothing companies participating in a DBEDT-sponsored initiative promoting Hawaii designers abroad.

The 2014 spring/summer ‘IOLANI Hawaiian Classics line will be available in Uniqlo stores beginning in May. Because there is no Uniqlo store locally, online shopping will have to suffice for fans of both brands.

The collection will include men’s shirts, shorts and T-shirts and women’s tunics, dresses, shorts, handbags, skirts and T-shirts, all inspired by ‘IOLANI’s print archives, with design, fabric and production by Uniqlo.

The rest of the story will appear in tomorrow's Star-Advertiser.

uniqlo:ioAmong the Uniqlo collaboration 'IOLANI Hawaiian Classics pieces will be men's steteco pants, cooling long underwear intended to wear under trousers or yukata for added comfort during humid summer months. Uniqlo is bringing them back, creating contrast when worn under shorts.

Governor's Fashion Awards honors Hawaii talent

November 1st, 2013


David “Pua” Rochlen of Surf Line Hawaii/Jams World was the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the reinstated Governors Fashion Awards ceremony that took place Oct. 30 at The MODERN Honolulu. Longtime fashion veteran Dale Hope, in a vintage 1965 Sandwich Isles tapa-print jacket presented the award with Gov. Neil Abercrombie.Nadine Kam photos

It was one of the best-dressed events of the year as the Hawaii's fashion industry gathered to honor their own during the reinstated Governor's Fashion Awards ceremony that took place Oct. 30 at The MODERN Honolulu, the dazzling finale to the inaugural Hawai'i Fashion Month.

Before announcing the award winners, Gov. Abercrombie, self-conscious about his age, chuckled as he spoke of having known Surf Line Hawaii founder David Rochlen, and Hilo Hattie inspiration Clarissa "Clara" "Hilo Hattie" Haili.

While it's easy for many of us have grown up with a certain amount of entitlement to bellyache about how hard it is to get ahead these days, he reminded the audience that we can look at behemoths like Hilo Hattie and Surf Line/Jams World today and imagine they were fully formed from the beginning, but he said that was not the case, and in reference to Rochlen, said he had a strong belief in the industry and the confidence to make things happen back in the 1960s when no one was listening.

For the governor, it was an eye-opening experience to watch how a few key people in the business and fashion communities could come together to make a big difference in a few years, such as launching Aloha Fridays to boost sales of aloha wear.


From left, Hilo Hattie's Terri Funakoshi, CEO/President Don Kang and Felix Calvo. The company was named Major Retailer of the Year, and Kang also picked up the award for Outstanding Professional of the Year for his part in rescuing the company following Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Otherwise, the company would likely not have survived to see its 50th anniversary this year.

In their remarks, Hawaii Fashion Incubator co-founders Toby Portner and Melissa White, co-chairs of Hawai'i Fashion Month along with Sen. Will Espero, said it is still their aim to see where the needs and goals of the fashion community intersect, and to bring competitors together to work for the common good of the entire industry.

Industry veteran Dale Hope reiterated that point in his tribute to 'Iolani Sportswear, saying how he was afraid to approach company founder Keiji Kawakami for help, but that it was common in the early days of the industry for competitors to help each other out in times of need, when machines broke or if they needed a loan to get by, and he later learned that Keiji felt fortunate for having been helped by Watumull's.

In accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award, David "Pua" Rochlen of Surf Line Hawaii/Jams World said that when he found out about it, he didn't know why he won and thought he was too young to receive it. He humbly acknowledged that he was once told of running the company started by his father, "You did one thing right, you didn't screw it up."

He reminded all that the Hawaii fashion industry is about more than clothing, but offers the opportunity for all of us to connect with a lifestyle, culture, food, and all the things that create a feeling others can't find at home or anywhere else in the world.

He also announced that he is starting a petition to encourage the state to acquire the Nike building in Waikiki to showcase made in Hawaii products to the visitor market year 'round.

Here are the winners of the Governor’s Fashion Awards, announced Wednesday night at The Modern Honolulu at the close of the inaugural Hawai‘i Fashion Month:

>> Major Retailer of the Year: Don Kang, Hilo Hattie
>> Boutique Retailer of the Year: Deborah Mascia, Mu‘umu‘u Heaven
>> Emerging Designer of the Year: Cora Spearman, Coradorables
>> Established Designer of the Year: Rona Bennett and Lan Chung, Fighting Eel
>> Designer, Contemporary: Ari South, Andy South
>> Designer, Aloha: Jamie Makasobe, Ane Bakutis and Hina Kneubuhl, Kealopiko
>> Designer, Couture/Formal: Anne Namba, Anne Namba Designs
>> Designer, Jewelry: Jason Dow, Jason Dow Inc.
>> Photographer: Harold Julian, Harold Julian Photography
>> Wardrobe Stylist: Amos Kotomori, Amos Kotomori Ltd.
>> Beauty Professional: Paul Brown, Paul Brown Salons
>> Outstanding Professional: Don Kang, Hilo Hattie
>> Lifetime Achievement: David “Pua” Rochlen, Jams World

Congratulations to all, the finalists, and all those who put in the work day after day to make Hawaii a more beautiful place to live.


Pua Rochlen with wife Heather and keiki Nacho, David III and Pumehana, surrounded by Surf Line/Jams World 20-year employees. He bought three tables for his loyal 20-year workers.


Carla and Lloyd Kawakami of 'Iolani Sportswear were honored as the company marked its 60th anniversary this year. The family recently lost matriarch Edith Kawakami, but Carla said if she were here, she would remind them that any honors are  not about us as the owners, but about the people who make it happen and the people of Honolulu. (more…)

HFM: Nominees for the Governor's Fashion Awards

October 24th, 2013


David "Pua" Rochlen Jr. of Surf Line Hawaii/Jams World is the Lifetime Achievement Honoree for the Governor's Fashion Awards taking place Oct. 30 as the finale to the inaugural Hawai'i Fashion Month. Rochlen carries on the legacy of his father, who championed the Hawaii surf and lifestyle brand across the nation in the photo

A triumphant inaugural Hawai'i Fashion Month will come to a close Oct. 30 with the presentation of the 2013 Governor's Fashion Awards at The MODERN Honolulu.

The event starts at 7 p.m. If you're in the biz, tickets to the can't miss event also celebrating the 60th anniversary of 'Iolani Sportwear, 50th anniversary of Hilo Hattie's, and 10th anniversary of Fighting Eel are $125 at

Congratulations to all the nominees and good luck Wednesday! See you there!

Lifetime Achievement Honoree: David "Pua" Rochlen, Surf Line Hawaii and Jams World


Established Designer of the Year
Rona Bennett and Lan Chung, Fighting Eel
Lisa Cabrinha, Letarte Swimwear
David "Pua" Rochlen, Jr., Surf Line Hawaii, Ltd. (Jams World)

Emerging Designer of the Year
Matt Bruening, Matt Bruening
Deborah Mascia, Mu‘umu‘u Heaven
Cora Spearman, Coradorables (more…)

HFM: 'Iolani Sportswear marks 60-year milestone

October 24th, 2013


From left, Carla and Lloyd Kawakami with sons Nick and Alex, who have built up 'Iolani Sportswear, the company started by patriarch and matriarch Keiji and Edith Kawakami in 1953.Nadine Kam photos

'Iolani Sportswear celebrated its 60th anniversary with a rooftop garage party Oct. 10 at the company headquarters at 1234 Kona St., above Side Street Inn, which catered the fundraising party.

Casual fashion shows highlighted recent designs from the company that continues to build on the success of founders Keiji and Edith Kawakami, with the addition of contemporary street wear to complement classic aloha wear collections.

In between fashion shows and enjoying the food, guests could browse the 'Iolani Sportswear shop, with proceeds from the evening's sales and admission benefiting the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific, which is also marking 60 years.

The event was a part of Hawai'i Fashion Month, and the company will also be celebrated, along with Hilo Hattie (marking its 50th anniversary) and Fighting Eel (celebrating 10 years) during the Governor's Fashion Awards taking place Oct. 30 at The MODERN Honolulu. The event starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $125 at

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Miss Hawaii 2013 Crystal Lee on the runway in 'Iolani.


Kapala provided music for the event. Manoa DNA—Lloyd, Alex and Nick Kawakami, showing they have talent beyond fashion—also performed later in the evening, though by then I was off to see the Hawai'i International Film Festival opening night film "Final Recipe." It was a wonderful, warm-hearted foodie film, so catch it when it comes back.


Favorite dishes from Side Street Inn were on the evening's menu.

Mr. and Miss Polynesia Pacific crowned

October 5th, 2013


George Tuitele-Martin and Auli'i Tagupa were crowned Mr. and Miss Polynesia 2014 at Leeward Community College Theatre Sept. 28.Nadine Kam photos

The Mr. and Miss Polynesia Pacific Pageant, created by Ralph Malani, is one of the liveliest, most entertaining pageants in town, which, as emcee Teighlor Rmani explained, includes elements of the annual Universal Show Queen pageant.

The event took place Sept. 28 at the Leeward Community College Theatre, and after about 4-1/2 hours of singing, dancing, costume pageantry and some pretty risqué moves, George Tuitele-Martin was named kane winner, and Auli'i Tagupa was named wahine winner.

I was initially invited to this annual event because of the costume component that involves creating aloha wear from fabric donated by Hawaiiana designers, as well as black tie, natural couture involving costumes fashioned from nature's materials, and an extravagant fantasy costume segment that generally involves a lot of feathers and flash. But I keep coming back for the pure entertainment, exuberance and pure bravado the contestants always bring to the evening.

Also adding to the beauty of the evening were performers Mahi Crabbe and Ashley Lilinoe, whose music accompanied the contestants on stage, and Duncan Kamakana, one of the judges, who was called on to perform, including a hana hou of his Burger King jingle.

Here are the winners:

>> Mr. Polynesia Pacific 2014: George Tuitele-Martin
>>Miss Polynesia 2014: Auli'i Tagupa
>> Natural couture: Keola Kaluhiokalani (kane) and Auli'i Tagupa (wahine)
>> Aloha wear: George Tuitele-Martin (kane) and Shiloh Phillips (wahine)
>> Black tie: Keali'i O'Brien (kane) and Nile Te'o (wahine)
>> Talent: Jerrold Martinez (kane) and Nei-Moana Henriques (wahine)
>> Fantasy: George Tuitele-Martin (kane) and Auli'i Tagupa (wahine)


Keola Kaluhiokalani summoned the spirit of Don Ho during the fantasy segment of the competition, though he looks a little more like Jason Scott Lee!


While results were tabulated, Duncan Kamakana, one of the judges, was pressed to perform, including a good-natured hana hou of the audience-requested Burger King jingle. Click on the photo to hear him sing "Ku'u Home O Kahalu'u."


George and Auli'i with Mr. and Miss Pacific Polynesia founders Ralph Malani and Cliff Duldulao, right.


George's talent competition performance comprised contemporary and Polynesian dance.


Auli'i performs her hula.

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Jerrold Martinez delivered a poignant performance that began with a dance in drag to Beyoncé's "If I Were a Boy," before he stripped away makeup and feminine accoutrements to deliver a powerful kane dance, below, that won him the kane talent award.