Behind the Scenes: The Making of November’s Mauka to Makai Cover

Here’s how we created the two covers for the November issue of HONOLULU Magazine.

Photo: David Croxford 


Collaboration was the name of the game when it came to crafting this month’s covers. Just as the cover story celebrates how Hawai‘i fashion brings together different ideas, aesthetics and cultural references in unique ways, the creation of the cover images merged the talents of a diverse team of local creatives.


Our creative director Kristin Lipman’s starting point was the phrase “mauka to makai,” referencing Hawai‘i’s majestic mountains, glimmering ocean waters and the reach from one to the other. We set out to create two synched, yet distinct, looks that reflected the beauty of each. To bring our vision to life, we assembled a team of top Island artists, including Honolulu womenswear designer Allison Izu Song, O‘ahu-based surf and wave photographer Zak Noyle and aerial Hawai‘i landscape photographer Cameron Brooks. 


From concept, the process moved to the fabric. Enter Tony Truong, owner of Hisego Enterprises, an O‘ahu textile printing company that specializes in dye-sublimation printing, a digital process that uses heat and pressure to transfer photographic images from paper to fabric. Using Truong’s printing technology, Lipman designed two bold, graphic-print fabrics, one featuring Brooks’ bird’s-eye images of the Wai‘anae mountain range and Koko Crater, and one showcasing Noyle’s snaps of the Pipeline surf break. 


Apparel designer Izu Song joined forces with our fashion editors Stacey Makiya and Brie Thalmann to conceptualize the outfits’ silhouettes, incorporating several of the latest trends—the mauka look consists of a boxy top and an asymmetrical-hem pencil skirt, while the makai look includes a racerback-cut top and a high-waist, pleated skirt. Both offer nods to the current sportswear trend, courtesy of the stretch scuba fabric. Then Izu Song went to work, drafting the patterns, cutting the fabric, making multiple rounds of samples, fitting and refitting the garments on the models, tweaking the designs until they were just right and ready for their moment in the spotlight.


Check out our photo gallery below.