Waikiki Roots and Royal Style with fashion mob

On Saturday, at approximately 5:30 p.m., in front of the Royal Hawaiian Center, out of no where Tahiti Mana drummers began playing and four Tahitian dancers spontaneously began to dance at the cross walk. Minutes later, they switched from dance-mode to high fashion runway-mode with some 40 models crossing the street with them in a perfectly timed X formation. This was the first Waikiki fashion mob during Hawaii Fashion Month, and perhaps the first ever fashion mob in Waikiki. The models stopped to pose for the hundreds taking photos and videos, then eventually ended up on the runway at Royal Hawaiian Center’s The Grove.

The theme of the evening was Waikiki Roots and Royal Style, hosted by The Royal Hawaiian Center. This was my second fashion mob to produce and style, and it took a village of talented individuals to make it happen. My styling inspiration was to pay homage to Waikiki’s past with vibrant prints, updated with layered textures and rich designs that are not only on trend but fashion forward. The fashions were pulled from locally owned boutiques, Allure & Princess Tam-Tam; Lole Hawaii; Island Slipper; Fighting Eel; Royal Hawaiian Golf Shop; Island Fashions; Contemporary Hats; Western Classics; Pink Sands; and Aloha Aina Boutique.

Photos by Eric Baranda

Fashion Mob and Party Pics

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Waikiki Roots & Royal Style Runway Show

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Waikiki Love launch party & fashion show

IMG_0673There was an infusion of romance and whimsy at The Modern Honolulu during Wednesday’s Waikiki Love launch party and fashion show. The private Hawaii Fashion Month event brought out VIP guests and fashion leaders, including mega retailers, buyers and local and international media. We had a chance to interview Waikiki Love designer and CEO Jeong S. Lee about her youthful, colorful sportswear collections.

You had two lines featured on the runway, tell us about your inspiration.
My mission was to create a new way of expressing what fashion is in Hawaii. The first Waikiki Love collection was geared to a younger audience, and it is inspired by love, light and laughter. My Waikiki Love Luxe [WL Luxe] line combines soft lines and structure showing softness and control. I used leather elements in unexpected ways, showing that even in Hawaii, leather can make sense.

Where do you sell your items?
Presently, everything is sold online at WaikikiLoveCouture.com, but I have plans to be in stores in Hawaii real soon, I will keep you posted.

What made you come to Hawaii?
It’s like the name of my line; I moved here for love.

Waikiki Love party pics

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Waikiki Love fashion show

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Photos by Eric Baranda

CabaRAE grand opening party

IMG_0715On Saturday, CabaRAE celebrated the opening of its new space at the Hilton Hawaiian Village with a red carpet welcome and VIP reception. But before the glitz, glitter and glam, we were there on Friday for the blessing by Kahu Kelekona Bishaw. I’ve been to many blessings, but this one seemed different. There was a deep sense of relief, gratitude and emotion among the cast and producers.

“It has a lot to do with us being thrust together,” performer Jean-pierre Poissonnet said. “But because of the challenges we’ve faced, waiting for it all to come together, it has made us closer… So there is all of this emotion and anticipation behind this opening.”

IMG_0691Said Adam Goldberg, the show’s creative producer and co-founder: “The audience will love the new space, the new additions to our cast and the entire atmosphere. There is something for everyone, locals and tourists. They’ll have to come and experience.”

Take a look at our earlier review of the show when it opened at a temporary space at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in July, 2014.

And now here’s the new space:


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Photo by Ed Morita

Saturday’s red carpet gala:

CabaRAE red carpet

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Photo by Travis Okimoto

Honolulu Night Market – Runway 2014

IMG_0751Fashion was in the air at Saturday’s Honolulu Night Market, aptly themed “Runway” with fashion shows by Wahine Toa and Ava Sky + Issa De Mar. Overall, it was a great night at the Our Kaka‘ako streetfest, with a strong turnout, cool weather and lots of food and shopping to choose from, including a special Pig & the Lady pop-up dinner and a booth by Urban Outfitters, which is opening in Waikiki late this month.

During the first Wahine Toa fashion show, I loved designer Nita Pilago’s fresh bamboo, kalo and tattoo tribal prints. The cut of the fabric and innovative design of her looks complement the silhouette of petite to curvy gals. An hour later, Ava Sky + Issa De Mar rocked the runway. The Ava Sky collection was breezy, stylish and incorporated the right amount of structure with flowing ease. I loved the cobalt blue jumper, black and white blocking and long cover-ups. Issa De Mar, meanwhile, took sporty swimwear to the next level. The bold signature cut-outs and vibrant prints were not only eye catching, but made to be surf and swim friendly. I’m not sure exactly how the fabric stays in place, but it does.

In between the shows I stopped by the Hawaii Fried Musubi food truck, enjoyed a Fried Spicy Bomb Musubi and washed it down with a Waimanalo Country Farms Lemonade, while listening to Infrared Rabbit at the main stage. There was a long line of participants striking a pose at the HMSA Healthy booth and tons of buzz around the Urban Outfitters booth.

Runway shows

Ava Sky + Issa De Mar

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Photo by Eric Baranda


Party pics

Honolulu Night Market: Runway

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Hifi Connects and Gov’s Fashion Award 2014

Panel“Fall down seven times, get up eight.” This summed up the spirit of the 2014 Governor’s Fashion Award presentation and the panel discussion of the HIFI Connects: The Business of Fashion, Coffee + Dialogue, on Sunday at the Hawaii Convention Center Exhibition Hall, the last event following the epic HONOLULU Fashion Week runway shows.

It was a packed audience ranging from high school students to retirees, all excited to hear the different perspectives on the business of fashion from within and outside of Hawaii. The panel was comprised of internationally recognized fashion industry professionals, who shared their journey from hometown dreams to success in the Big Apple and beyond.

GovBut before I get to the panelists, I must talk about the presentation of the 2014 Governor’s Fashion Award. Designer and Hawaii fashion notable, Amos Kotomori shared his heartfelt stories about Joy Nagaue or shall I say, “Miss Joy.” Kotomori spoke to her 35 years of dedication and service to Honolulu Community College fashion technology students. After Gov. Abercrombie presented the award to Nagaue, she spoke to the audience in the same tone and grace of an educator. She talked about her mother’s advice, “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” Nagaue explained that this work ethic kept her going through challenges and she teaches her students to do the same.


The lack of financial support, family support, resources or guidance did not stop any of the panelists in their quest to realize their dream and solidify their brand. Drawing upon many combined years of expertise, and being very candid about the challenges they’ve faced, they shared valuable insights into the current status of the local industry and the future of Hawaii fashion. Here’s a little about the panelists:

Lynne O’Neill: A fashion show producer with more than 30 years of experience producing New York Fashion Week runway shows for such designers as Tommy Hilfiger, Herve Leger, Catherine Malandrino, Vivienne Tam and Rebecca Minkoff.

Roman Young: A graduate of ‘Iolani School, Young is the Director of Talent for Wilhelmina Models in New York, and has appeared on MTV, MSNBC, E! Entertainment, CNN, and as a judge on America’s Next Top Model.

Bliss Lau: Designer of a successful accessories brand that is carried in boutiques worldwide, Lau is also an associate professor at Parsons The New School For Design where she teaches how to build a strong brand vision.

Jacky Tang: Vice president of branding & retail development for popular brand Opening Ceremony, Tang specializes in brand and merchandise development.

Henry Navarro: An artist specializing in fashion as public art, Navarro is a faculty member in the fashion program at Ryerson University in Toronto. He will introduce “Aloha Na‘au,” a collaborative project for summer 2015.

Featured speakers in the Hawaii industry panel included:

Mark Tsuda of Jams World
Ed D’Ascoli of Xcel
Joy Nagaue of Honolulu Community College
Georja Skinner of the Creative Industries Division of the State Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism.

HIFI Connects: The Business of Fashion

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Panel of international fashion notables.

Photos by Amanda Stevens