Archive for the ‘Aloha wear’ Category

Reyn Spooner marks 60 years

July 8th, 2016

Reyn Spooner marked it's 60th anniversary with a fashion show on Ala Moana Center's Center Stage July 7, that took viewers on a journey from the 1950s to the present.

Opening the show were models Roycen Dehmer and Desmond Centro in Reyn's rice bag shorts from the 1950s, that had emcee Jordan Segundo quipping, "They did a lot of recycling then."

I'm glad that recycling is back in a big way, showing that good ideas may skip a generation, but always come back with a generation seeking the "new."


From left, in Reyn Spooner, company chairman Charlie Baxter, president Kirk Hubbard III, and Japan partners Takuro Sakatoku, Ryota Matsumoto and Fumio Matsubara, following the brand's fashion show on Ala Moana's Center Stage.

Sixty years is a grandpa territory, but over the years, Reyn Spooner has remained relevant in keeping up with the times. In recent years, the brand has collaborated with such urban lifestyle and fashion brands as Stüssy, Opening Ceremony, Converse and Vans.

And, it doesn't end there.

Company chairman Charlie Baxter, a former San Francisco-based e-commerce CEO, invested in Reyn Spooner because he said he sees its potential reach far beyond Hawaii's shores.

"It's really a state treasure," he said, with a history of influencing many major resort and lifestyle brands, and a story that resonates around the globe for people who love Hawaii.

Always cognizant of its Hawaii roots and ties to community, one of Reyn Spooner's latest designs Reyn Spooner designs is a limited edition aloha print honoring The Friends of Iolani Palace’s 50th anniversary. A portion of sales will support the organization’s restoration, preservation and conservation efforts. The shirts retail for $118, women’s scarves are $80, and eco totes are $26.

The company initially found its niche creating an aloha shirt casual enough for weekends, and dignified enough for customers to wear professionally. Back then, the only shirts on the market were poor fitting, loud-colored garments made for the fledgling tourism industry.

One of the company's biggest hits was an all-cotton, pullover aloha shirt with a button-down collar. But founder Reyn McCullough wasn't satisfied with the intensity and brightness of the tropical- and calico-print fabrics he was using. He liked the shirts worn by surfers—those bleached out by constant sun exposure. After experimenting with ways to achieve the same chambray effect, he realized the easiest solution was to simply turn his fabrics inside out. The company is still widely recognized as the originator of the "reverse print" they remain famous for today.

Following the fashion show, the celebration continued at the Reyn Spooner store near Macy's. Guests were treated to seafood dishes from Roy's Restaurant, with signature Spooner Kloth serving as a table cloth.

Hamachi and sea asparagus over Spooner Kloth.

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 and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Psychedelic Swell at The Surfjack

June 20th, 2016


Models from the Psychedelic Swell fashion show posed for a group shot after the show.

Downtown denizens Roberta Oaks and Barrio Vintage's Bradley Rhea and Jonathan Saupe teamed up for a one-time, limited edition collaboration collection, Psychedelic Swell, that came to life during a fashion show at the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club June 16.

it looked like the late 1960s and early ’70s all over again, with not only the models, but guests dressed in groovy retro-print garments, suede vests and polyester, echoing the vibe of the collection which featured Oaks' modern silhouettes, with garments sewn from Barrio Vintage's collection of era fabric.

“It was something we’d talked about for some time,” said Oaks.

Many of the textiles were manufactured in Honolulu in the 1960s and ’70s, and feature the bright color combinations of the psychedelic and neon generations.

“To see them survive the test of time and find a new life has been both inspiring and exciting,” Rhea said. “For me, it was interesting to see this pile of fabric transformed.”

For Rhea, the experienced cured him of any desire to create a Barrio Vintage collection from scratch. “I was amazed by what’s involved in creating a collection and what it’s done is made me even more appreciative of people who do this for a living,” he said.

Usually, such a collection might be available for sale immediately after the show, but to make it fair for those who could not attend the show, the entire 26-piece collection of men’s and women’s wear went on sale online at 10 a.m. June 17 at and Barrio, at prices ranging from about $120 to $150.

I was interested in one of the shifts, so kept checking the sites, even while out on a fashion shoot at Cromwell's. Most of the garments were gone by 1 p.m. And so, due to the mostly one-of-a-kind nature of the collection, these modern-retro collectible garments are destined to become tomorrow's rare vintage finds.

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 and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Parade of 'Angels' in Waikiki

June 3rd, 2016


Nina Thai, front left, poses with her models during the grand opening of her second Angels by the Sea boutique in Waikiki, this one at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel, streetfront on Kalakaua Avenue.

Nina Thai celebrated the grand opening of her second Angels by the Sea boutique June 2 with a party that started with a mini parade/fashion show of keiki and grownup models down Kalakaua Avenue.

Guests were invited to meet at The Waikiki Shopping Plaza, where models in angel wings and the boutique's new Summer 2016 collection—due to hit the racks in July—led the procession to the new store at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel, streetfront on Kalakaua.

Nina started her girls line about six months ago because moms were asking for matchy-matchy rompers and dresses for their mini-me's.

angels kawaii

After a blessing, well-wishers squeezed into the store, where sweet treats in ocean blue awaited. There was barely room to maneuver because so many were shopping the BOGO event. The buy-one-get-one free offer ends June 3. Angels by the Sea's resort-style rompers, sun dresses, maxis and separates are popular with women because they manage to be playful, feminine, sexy and romantic, all in one.

The lightweight garments are also ideal for our hot, humid weather. Keiki styles run from about $38 to $78, adults $80 to $180.

I get so many compliments when I wear Angels by the Sea. I wore a floor-length dress today and some of my co-workers were gushing, "Wow, you look great! Are you going out?"

Oh, hello. I go out almost every day and night, making what is supposed to be complimentary sound a bit insulting, like I'm not even trying every other day. But it just makes me think maybe I should be wearing Angels by the Sea more often!

Sales from the event will benefit the Hawai‘i Community Foundation Ellen Hamada Scholarship Fund for Fashion Design & Sewing, which supports local students pursuing their dreams in fashion industry. For Thai, it was a dream that became reality in 2010 when she opened her first location at Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa.

She's coy about what her next move will be, but I have a feeling this second boutique won't be her last.

The new Angels by the Sea boutique is at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Resort & Spa, 2348 Kalakaua Ave. Call 921-2747. Hours are 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily.

Nina led a parade of "angels" from Waikiki Shopping Plaza to her store, drawing smiles from visitors along the way.

A couple of the grown-up styles, which will be available in July.

Clea Saldania in Angels by the Sea.

A blessing preceded entry to the store.

One of the store's window displays.

Inside the boutique crowded with well-wishers, sweet treats colored ocean blue, awaited.

In addition to clothing, Angels by the Sea carries a few ocean-themed items for the home, including the wall signs below.

angel signs

Ocean plush toys.

Nina with Hawaii News Now's Jennifer Robbins.

At night, we could see the glow of the angel wings.

Models showed more of the styles to be available in July.

A reward at the end of a long evening for this young model.


As for current styles, I am wearing one of them (blue), as are Jennifer Robbins, center, and Ritsuko Kukonu, right.

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 and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

On the Na Hoku red carpet

May 29th, 2016


From left are Style Awards judge Carol D’Angelo, wahine winner Aurora Kaawa, kane winner Sean O’Malley, and judges Georja Skinner and Dexter Doi.

The Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards ceremony is not only one of Hawaii's biggest showcases for entertainment in Hawaii, but also the one night Hawaii's music stars get to show off their red carpet style.

The big night puts the spotlight on nominees in 33 categories, vying for the Ka Hōkū Mua `Loa ("Star of Distinction") trophy.

It may be one of the most diverse red carpets in the world, where spectators will see a mix of gowns, Hawaiian formals, rock 'n' roll leather and Stetsons. So this year, in addition to recognition for music, the stars and guests were also recognized for their fashion sense.


At the Hoku Na Hanohano Awards, Natalie Ai Kamauu showed her star style with a hat she made to compliment her Adriana Papell dress.

Natalie Ai Kamauu and Iolani Kamauu in a denim suit. Below, Natalie's accessories.

hoku hands

The 39th annual awards that took place May 28 also marked the inaugural Poi Planet Style Contest, which took place in the foyer of the Kalākaua Ballroom at Hawai'i Convention Center prior to the start of the awards ceremony.

Winner in the wahine category was Aurora Kaawa, a former Miss Hawaii (’71) who also won the talent award at the Miss America 1971 pageant. She lives in Makakilo and travels back and forth to Southern California to run her entertainment and events company, Ahe Productions. She found her dress in a Palm Springs store in 2012 and wanted to wait for the right moment to wear it. Kaawa is a hula dancer who continues to perform with her brother Mike Kaawa, and has also performed as a featured dancer with Taj Mahal, Melveen Leed, Owana Salazar.

Winner in the kane category, Sean O’Malley, is part of the comedy duo, Oil in the Alley, a finalist in the Best Comedy Album Category. The Hawaii Kai singer/guitar player’s oil and fire outfit was inspired by the “oil” in his duo's name, while and his partner, R. Kevin Garcia Doyle’s blue outfit, was inspired by water.

Attendees were invited to model their outfits in front of an panel of judges. They were Georja Skinner, Chief Officer of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBED)/Creative Industries Division; designer Allison Izu; and Carol D’Angelo and Dexter Doi of Ecolicious.

The winners received prizes from Ala Moana Hotel, DADA Salon, Ecolicious, KoAloha Ukulele. Manaola, Allison Izu, and Reyn Spooner.

From left, Taz Vegas, Melia Kalawe and songwriter/producer Bobby Pileggi.

Blaine and Kaleo Kia. Blaine is wearing a Ralph Lauren shirt from Macy's with sandalwood bead necklace and Tahitian matau or fish hook necklace. Kaleo is wearing Manaola Hawaii.

Here to support the Kaleikini family, statuesque London singer/songwriter Chalin Barton wore an Alex Mullins dress with a thrift-shop kimono, accessorized with a Chanel bag.

Sandy "Storm" Essman, nominated with her band for Rock Album of the Year and Christmas Album of the Year, with Sean O'Malley of Oil in the Alley, who had been nominated for Best Comedy Album.

McKenna Maduli, a local girl who now calls Los Angeles home, has worked the red carpet in Access Hollywood, Billboard Live, and MTV, was the emcee for the fashion awards. She wore a design created by Kini Zamora.

Kaimi Hananoeau, right, entered the fashion contest in a shirt by Puamana Crabbe. He's with Jamie Ernestberg.

Stylist Ralph Malani, left, dressed McKenna Maduli and Raiatea Helm for the event. He's with Cliff Duldulao.

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Living culture at the MAMo Wearable Arts Show 2016

May 24th, 2016


One of Maui designer Anna Kahalekulu's models holds up a life-sustaining pohaku, or stone, the inspiration for her collection for the 10th annual MAMo Wearable Art Show.

Storyteller/performer Moses Goods opened the Maoli Arts Month 10th annual Wearable Art Show on May 18 at Hawaii Theatre with his tale of Maui "making plants fly" by shaping them into a lupe, or kite, reflecting the ingenuity of the demigod and the Hawaiian people, who, from humble materials, were able to create, clothe, house and feed themselves.

It was a tale befitting the show dedicated to showcasing the creativity of Native Hawaiian and Pacific designers, artists and cultural practitioners.

The show is one of the highlight events of a month that includes a film festival, storytelling festival and art exhibition.

With the click of 'ili 'ili and pahu rhythms with the speed of a heartbeat, Maui-based designer and educator Anna Kahalekulu, a first-timer to the Oahu show, was the first to present. Her show was focused on the pohaku, or stones considered to be one of the people's life-sustaining forces.

Her fabrics dyed with plant materials and alaea reflected the multi-colors and textures of stones from mountain to sea.

In addition to the work shown on stage, Rava Ray showed pieces, in the Hawaii Theatre lobby, that she created for last year's Honolulu Fashion Week, including this piece incorporating turkey, peacock and pheasant feathers.

The show was tamer than last year's event, when many an artist made a political statement regarding the building of the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea.

The show featured the return of Lufi Luteru, Wahine Toa, Maile Andrade and Marques Marzan. Maori designer Hone Bailey was there representing Aotearoa, or New Zealand.

With co-host and show director Robert Uluwehi Cazimero feeling under the weather, there wasn't as much of the comedic banter between him and producer emcee Vicky Holt Takamine as usual, but enough to add lightness and laughter to the evening.

A hair look created for 6th generation weaver Keaou Nelson's show of handwoven accessories.

Unfortunately, maybe I was laughing a little too hard regarding their tale of a missing connection at the airport due to confusion over Kauai designer Lavena Kehaulani Kekua's full name, which hadn't been included on the ticket.

Adding a double whammy to her day, I must have hit the stop button on my video camera, so her show isn't included as one of the videos below. It was a beautiful show of bold, handpainted scarves. All I can say is, "Sorry" and "Come back next year!"

And the same goes for the audience. Even at its most sedate, this is still one of the most lively shows in town.

Following the show, there was an after-party and trunk show where some girl snagged Kahalekulu's sleeveless yellow silk jacket I wanted.

And, as a testament to Wahine Toa's and designer Nita Pilago's popularity, there was a line at a private entrance for her work.

Another show will take place June 25 at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Call (808) 242-2787 for more information. Featured will be the work of Maile Andrade, Marques Marzan, Wahine Toa, Koa Johnson, Anna Kahalekulu, Elisha Clemons and Kehau Kekua.

Are designers ever done before showtime? Above, Marques Marzan adds black trim to one of his garments. Below left, Anna Kahalekulu works on a lauhala capelet, and Keoua Nelson works on one of his woven belts.

mamo anna

mamo nelson

Marzan's inspiration was the chiefly fan, the pe'ahi, that incorporated weaving and twining techniques, and often, human hair from a close relative or someone imbued with strong mana.

Here are the shows, in order of presentation:

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 and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Kauai hosts fashion weekend

May 9th, 2016


Designer Sha Ali Ahmad, co-founder of Kaua'i Fashion Weekend, takes a bow following his Saturday runway presentation. At right, Maytee Martinez, from "House of DVF" was one of his models.

In Honolulu, we tend to look at our city of a million as the center of everything creative in Hawaii, from food to fashion. But, our neighbor islands no longer want to be ignored. There is amazing culinary work being done on Maui, and in distant Kauai, a nascent fashion scene is no longer waiting for Honolulu to come calling, when it's perfectly capable of attracting attention at home.

The 4th Annual Kaua‘i Fashion Weekend took place May 7, featuring Kauai designers' newest island-inspired evening couture, resort, casual and beach wear collections.

Co-founded by international fashion designer Sha Ali Ahmad of India, and Marynel Valenzuela, president of Inkspot Printing on Kauai, the red-carpet event drew more than 400 residents and visitors to the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort & Beach Club's Grand Ballroom.

Above and below, two more of Sha Ali Ahmad's designs.


Ahmad, who has created fashions worn by celebrities from Hollywood to Bollywood, showed his latest collection, AC 16, which previously debuted at fashion shows in Miami and California. He calls Kauai his home away from home, said he was inspired to help raise the island’s profile in fashion design internationally.

“I want to make Kaua‘i a destination for fashion lovers everywhere. The designers here have huge potential because of the diverse culture. Since my first visit, the people, culture, hospitality and beauty of the island have inspired me.”

Among the models was Maytee Martinez, an international model, designer and star of the E! cable network series, "House of DVF."

Swim and resort styles, below, dominated the Kauai collections.


Also featured were homegrown designers Chanterelle Chantara of Chez Chanterelle, Taryn Rodighiero of KaiKini Bikinis, Karla Bollmann of Karlota’s Tropical Clothing, and Wilma Bumanglag of Wilma’s Top Secret.

Sue Kanoho, executive director of the Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau, hopes this focus on fashion will encourage more island residents to share their creativity.

“When people think of Kaua‘i, fashion isn’t always top of mind. There are some beautiful styles being designed by island residents that people anywhere in the world would enjoy wearing. Promoting Kauai’s fashion design is a beautiful way to diversify our island’s economy and show that Kauai should be known for more than sun and surf.”

More informatiion:

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…)

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