6 Ways Local Designers Style Their Own Creations

We’re going straight to the source(s) for this one.



Photo Credit: Adam Botma


HONOLULU Fashion Week may be over, but we’ve still got these star styles in our eyes and on our minds. Between scoping out runway shows and getting our shopping on, it was one seriously nonstop-chic storm, and coming off such a fly high hurts. Talk about the post-cute blues.


But, hey, look on the bright side: We’ve still got all our fresh new swag from the HONOLULU Fashion Week Marketplace! Now, how to make our own looks hit the style standards we saw on the runway? We took this hot topic straight to the Marketplace designers themselves to see how they transition their pieces from show to street.


Consider it a little “behind-the-chic” peek.


Have fun with your accessories

Ali Botma of XIX Palms takes her breezy boho separates to a new level with layered gems and mix ’n’ match baubles. “I love to wear my creations with a lot of jewelry; the more necklaces, rings and bracelets, the better,” she says. “Sunnies are always a must if it’s outdoors. I’m also really into head scarves at the moment—and they don’t necessarily have to match my designs!”


Size things up

Shera Mercer of ‘Alohi Kai Jewelry keeps her chunky sculptural accessories’ sizes in mind when selecting her outfit. “The bold pieces tend to be bigger so I wear them with minimalist classics,” she says, “from jeans to minimalist dresses—even as evening wear! The more refined pieces, I like to layer a lot: long chains layered with jellies encrusted with tourmalines, for example. I wear those with long dresses, tunics or even as a contrast with jeans and a beautiful top.”


Get your duds to do double duty

We love this fashion-meets-function take from Avela’s Ali and Gadea: “Since we are both beach bums, we love to wear our pareos wrapped around and tied at the hip. They make a great lightweight cover-up for weekend beach adventures and can double as a towel.”


Statement pieces need space to shine

When your piece makes an 11-level statement like Andrew Mau’s vibrant Mau-House button-down, you can keep everything else sleek. “Men’s apparel is quite simple,” he says. “I usually cuff back the sleeve a little—lately I have been buttoning all the way up with black slacks!”


Look local

Tapping fellow Islanders’ tailoring talents is a no-brainer for Kai Ea Jewelry designer Kimberly Richert. “I like to style my own creations with other local designers’ comfortable clothing,” she says. “Easy-breezy pieces [from] Manuheali‘i, Manaola, Indah, Allison Izu or anything from The Collective, [plus] bags and clutches from Kahulale‘a and Sasaki Bags. I own several pieces from each of these local designers (and more!) and they are my go-to’s.”


What’s the occasion?

Tikishiki’s Jennifer Todice plans her tote around her to-do list, factoring in classy nights out versus daytime errands, or pairs an ensemble’s muted palette with a loud pattern. “I pull prints that pair well with the look I'm going for, [such as] a beautiful denim print with jeans and tees, [or] black-and-red combos with black chinos and more polished looks,” she says. “If I'm heading to the beach, I take a tropical cotton for easy washability. If I am heading to the spa, I pack the large size with all sorts of goodies to use in the steam room and sauna before a treatment and after the gym.”


See photos and videos from HONOLULU Fashion Week at honolulufashionweek.com.

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