Some mighty savvy ‘designing women’ are making it big up there too.
Recently I went down to Waikiki to the Royal Hawaiian Center (Kalakaua and Lewers) to revisit a fairly new locally-owned boutique, Aloha ‘aina. They were having a trunk show and from what I’d seen of their merchandise at their grand opening, I was anxious to see what else they had in stock now.
Located on the second floor of C section of the Center (easiest way to find it is to go to the street level Royal Grove where the tree and entertainment area is, and take the escalator on its left up to the second floor).
The store front is so light and inviting and once you walk in, it’s easy to be drawn further into the sections that hold merchandise from different designers – a definite boutique feel. When I walked in, I scanned the dresses, quickly, and went straight to a particularly appealing style with amazing feel to the fabric. (I’ll come back to this later). But the jewelry at the front of the store stopped me and while I checked it out I also met the north shore wahine (woman) who is its designer, model, merchandiser and more. Noelani lives up in Sunset Beach, where she finds inspiration for her designs, which I found to be as light as air, in both design and weight, and Hawaiian in style and color. But definitely pieces that will bring second looks from your friends back home, and I guarantee these will be looks of envy. You can find her online to take a look at her designs before you visit, or to order for shipment. Her fan base is extensive and international, so right there you know she’s got the touch.
Now back to the dress. I met another young North Shore clothing designer, Jane Hoskins. In fact she is neighbors with Noelani. And at 29 years of age, has turned her fashion design minor in college into a thriving business both here in Hawaii, and out to Japan and the mainland. Building up a business from scratch is not an easy affair, but it was made slightly easier due to Hawai’i’s tendency to avidly support local business and products. Clothes branded Tiare Hawaii are soft, flowy, cut for any type of body and have upscale flair. When I asked her to show me her best seller, she went right to the dress that I had picked out earlier. Her clothes are mostly manufactured in Bali, using the softest of fabrics and high quality color screening.
The store carries a good variety of clothes and products, including an adorable line for children and babies. I’ve used the line of handmade soaps they carry and loved them. The handbags are bright, playful and distinctly Hawaiian, but ok for use anywhere. The bathing suit and lingerie line is sexy and feminine. Like I stated earlier, this store, although not large, is stuffed with goodies that a good shopping browser would be thrilled to stumble upon.
July 11th, 2011