Lei ChicPanda-inspired eye makeup. Gothic Lolita babydoll dresses. Suntans the color of Orange Bang.

Some Japanese trends are better off lost in translation. Others, are worth grabbing hold of — like the super kawaii bags from the newly launched Mei Vintage line.

Honolulu-turned-Los Angeles designer Alice Huang pairs vintage kimono fabrics with soft leather remnants to create handmade eco-chic wallets, clutches, hobos and shoulder bags.

Lei ChicHuang began collecting the ceremonial kimonos while studying graphic design at UH Manoa. Her penchant for Art Deco and geometric prints shows in her fabric selections, which range from interlocking squares and wave-like swirls to vibrant red cranes and traditional Asian flower patterns.

Huang offers solid colored options as well. Her braided-strap hobos and wooden-handle clutches are made of all-leather exteriors, in rich chocolate and cognac hues — the supple cowhide and lambskin swatches carefully selected from a factory near her home.

In true Japanese fashion, all of the designs are impeccably finished and come replete with stylish details — both aesthetic (kimono fabric piping, hemp linings and zipper trims) and functional (magnetic clasps and handy interior pockets).


Mei Vintage bags are available online at www.meivintage.com and at Super Citizen, 22 S. Pauahi St., Chinatown, 808.599.4333.

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