Store Spotlight: 45R Hawai‘i at International Market Place in Waikīkī
Style and heritage merge at 45R Hawai‘i.
Built out by Honolulu’s Canaan Builders, the space features a white oak floor and walls finished using a mid-12th-century Japanese plastering technique that blends earth with hydrated lime, seaweed glue and hemp fibers.
PHOTOS: AARON K. YOSHINO
If you’re not intentionally looking for 45R Hawai‘i, there’s a good chance you’ll miss it. With its serene hues, minimal wabi-sabi aesthetic and quiet charm, the little Japanese boutique is easy to overlook among the vibrant surf and resortwear stores at International Market Place.
But it’s definitely worth the hunt. Opened at the tail end of 2016, the Waikīkī outpost is the second U.S. location for the Tokyo brand, which was founded in 1977 by Shinji Takahashi and designer Yasumi Inoue, and is known for its chic men’s and women’s fashions made using traditional Japanese techniques and natural materials.
Designer Inoue focuses on fabric first, selecting the best of each season before moving on to the most complementary silhouettes.
The store itself is beautiful, a harmonious blend of modern and rustic elements rich with cultural significance. All materials were shipped over from Japan, including weathered oak planks pulled off a Japanese fishing boat, reworked into a surfboard-shaped wall fixture, and the massive 26-foot-long wood bench, made with an antique beam that formerly anchored a traditional Japanese farmhouse.
We were instantly taken by the handcrafted look and special feel of its pieces. On our wish list: cotton bandannas hand-printed with African flower, animal and mosaic tile motifs; lightweight camis handwoven out of khadi, a nubby yet ultra-soft Indian cotton; leopard-print pants cut from cupra, a fabric produced from a silky fiber found on cotton plant seeds; and swingy shibori blouses.
Indigo is a huge part of 45R Hawai‘i’s DNA. Jeans dyed with rare Japanese Ai-indigo, made from organic Ai leaves, are one of the brand’s signatures. Each pair is yarn-dyed (the strands are dipped 24 times twice a day before woven into fabric), not garment-dyed, for the richest, longest-lasting color and can take up to a whopping two months to finish.
Consider your future fashion heirlooms found.
45R Hawai‘i, International Market Place, (808) 456-0045.