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18 Reasons We Love Hawai‘i Fashion

From chic beachware and bold, nature-inspired prints to cool collabs and fresh spins on sartorial traditions, here are 18 reason we’re crazy about Hawai‘i fashion.


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No. 17: Modern Twists On Tradition 

Strong cultural ties are par for the course in the Islands, making Hawai‘i designers particularly adept at translating fashion elements from the past into fresh, contemporary designs. 

Photo: David Croxford 


For a prime example, look no further than Honolulu-based designer Anne Namba, a master at transforming traditional Asian design elements and vintage Japanese fabrics into sophisticated, modern apparel and accessories. These days the women’s section of her boutique is filled with chic, black-and-white kimono shibori dresses, floaty silk tops covered with an edgy, all-over dragon print and clean-lined, pagoda-style jackets paneled with supple leather and luxurious vintage obi fabric. And, talk about current, Namba’s latest accessory release is a leather and obi fabric belt outfitted with a pocket to hold a cell phone. 


And, then, of course, there are Namba’s one-of-a-kind bustier tops. One of her latest, shown here, is crafted from a vintage silk Fukuro obi, which customarily is used for dressier events and has metallic motifs on black. Fully boned and piped, it features a lustrous, beautifully brocaded peacock design, an adjustable, lace-up back and buttons reminiscent of Victorian-era jet buttons. 


“I especially relate to the Japanese kimono and obi as I love the motifs, colors and use of space in their designs,” explains Namba. “I am inspired to bring new life to vintage textiles and create garments that one can wear and enjoy, not just look at.” 


Bustier, $485, Anne Namba Designs, 324 Kamani St., 589-1135. 


No. 18: Crown Jewels 

Add a touch of 17th-century history to your look with the traditional heirloom bracelet. Elegant and proud, it dates back to the days of Princess Lili‘uokalani, who received a solid gold bracelet as a gift from England’s Queen Victoria. The bracelet featured Lili‘uokalani’s name in Old-English lettering in deep, majestic black enamel, sparking interest in Hawai‘i’s ali‘i, or the royal courts. Since then, the heirloom bracelet has evolved to include Hawaiian designs such as the plumeria, maile and honu. Today, you can find delicate bands handcrafted by local boutiques, adorned with sea shells, gold charms and lettered stamps that offer a nod to traditional styles. 


Left to right: Tidepool Love, Ki-Elee, Royal Hawaiian Jewelry, Maui Divers Jewelry, Nā Hōkū
Photo: David Croxford 



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Honolulu Magazine July 2020
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