Best of Honolulu 2017: Shopping

17 editorial and reader picks for the chic-est shopping in the city.


Family Fashions


Some of Kealopiko's biggest fans: Amanda Corby Noguchi, Mark Noguchi and their daughters
Photo: Tommy Shih

Since Kealopiko opened at South Shore Market, we’ve noticed more ‘ohana wearing its bright, whimsical patterns. The brick-and-mortar store offers aloha shirts, dresses, tees and pants, so mixing comfort and style is easy for all ages. And having a hub on O‘ahu allows people to get to know Kealopiko’s talented designers and their mission of incorporating Native Hawaiian cultural practices and stories into everything they produce. With the expansion of its Kahikikū line, the brand offers a wider selection of colors and styles, and more locals are finding something that reflects their own unique aesthetic. We expect a lot of future family photos will include the Kealopiko ‘ohana.

1170 Auahi St., (808) 593-8884.




So, it’s looking like a lush jungalow just isn’t in your future—five dead ficuses in a row means it’s not them, it’s definitely you. Not to fret. Black thumbs can still live the plant life with a little help from Momo Terrascapes. Run by mom-and-son duo Marilyn and Chase Hamano, the ‘Aiea-based company whips up sweet succulent arrangements artfully composed in clear glass vessels, and, our favorite, upcycled Asian-style dishware. Like mini Zen gardens for your tabletop, they’re ridiculously easy to maintain—just what you need to finally become one with nature. Plant killer.




Aloha-infused greeting cards are the perfect way to send a little local-style love to friends and family. Featuring hand-painted artwork and drawings by Honolulu illustrator and graphic designer Jordan Higa, the Hontas Higa card line features charming imagery for every Island event. Say congrats or “you da man” with clinking green bottles, show your parental appreciation with “mom” spelled out in tropical flowers or win big with your sweetie with a hand-lettered “Be my bebeh girl” accompanied by a sun-kissed beauty. And, for those times when you want to drop a note just because, scoop up Higa’s all-occasion cards adorned with adorable surfing pups, tiny palm trees and lovely kaleidoscopes of coral and shells.



Samudra kaftan
Photo: courtesy of tara binek

At first, it was all about the accessories. Equipped with neon trim and dreamy tropical imagery, Samudra’s photo pouches were like little shots of sunshine to carry you through your day—just a glance at your zip-top and you were instantly whisked from your windowless cubicle to an idyllic beach scene—ahh. This year, designer Jennifer Binney took things a step further, debuting Surf Jaipur, a collection of gorgeous throw-on-and-go kaftans of the same aesthetic. Binney herself rocks kaftans a lot—at the beach, while kicking back at home and even out on the town, dressed up with jeans and heels. Made of breezy cotton-silk, the knee-length cover-ups can be slipped on straight for a boxy fit or shimmied down to reveal a bit of bold shoulder, and all but demand you ditch those spreadsheets for a little sand and sea.

Available at Aloha Superette, 438 Uluniu St., Kailua, (808) 261-1011,



Coconut Beauty Line

photo: courtesy of kopari

We’ll admit, we’ve been a bit of a coconut beauty holdout. But can you blame us? Anyone who survived the slicker-than-a-Slip’N-Slide tanning oils of the ’80s and ’90s is bound to have a few slightly-too-orange scars. Enter Kopari. With its poppy packaging, sundrenched Insta account and wonderfully light, glow-inducing products made from organic coconut oil, the beauty line easily wooed us into submission. The clincher—co-founder Kiana Cabell, an organic chef and Honolulu native, only mixes the oil with ingredients that are free of silicones, sulphates, parabens and GMOs, such as all-natural aloe vera, beeswax, tea leaf extract and cocoa seed butter. And, as our beauty bags are now brimming with Kopari’s cleansers, scrubs and salves, you can go ahead and call us converted.


Bodysurfing Fin 

Bodysurfing fin
photo: dafin/nolan omura

Fashion foot fetishists ain’t got nothing on bodysurfers when it comes to being particular about what goes on their toes. There’s been a long quest for the ideal fin—one that has the right distribution of stiffness for power, ridges for carving, drainage channels and, not least, glovelike suppleness to save your skin from bloody sores. For many, Aussie Andy Cochran has done it with DaFin, blending the insight of watermen Mark Cunningham and Brian Keaulana with precision manufacturing. Today, it’s standard issue of the Hawai‘i Lifeguard Association and is the official fin of the U.S. Lifesaving Association. $65.95.

(808) 395-3360,


Best Collaborator

Lauren Roth
photo: courtesy of lauren roth

Painter Lauren Roth draws you in with her soft-and-sweet personality and incredible artistic talent. No wonder her collaborations within the local fashion and retail community have blossomed. Nordstrom commissioned Roth to create a branding package for the new store at Ala Moana and for Nordstrom Rack, including a massive mural, wall cut-outs and designs for a few surfboards. Roth says, “My process when collaborating with a client is different; I like to make sure I can bring to life what they are envisioning.” Other partnerships include whimsical floral patterns for Ari South, CoCoMoon baby clothes and swaddles, a logo for Jake Shimabukuro and, coming up, designs for Fighting Eel totes and tees.


Department Store

Reader Pick Macys dress

With its sparkling maze of makeup counters, extensive home assortment, quality fashions and killer deals on just about everything (hello coupons!), the draw of retail giant Macy’s is undeniable. Insider’s tip: After shopping national brands, it’s worth a spin around the womenswear floor to hunt down the latest from local label A-line—you’ll be hard pressed to find a wider selection of designer Lynn Sakutori’s easy-chic, graphic-print knitwear in the city.

Multiple locations,


Gift Shop

Art and Flea Mori

Everyone assumes we shop for a living, so we’re constantly fielding questions from people asking for the best place to get an awesome birthday, wedding, housewarming or even pet birthday gift. Our answer: Mori by Art + Flea. Owner Aly Ishikuni uses her highly experienced, creative eye to stock the shop with a mix of cool, modern, quirky (not kitschy) fashions, housewares, jewelry, pet goods, soaps, lapel pins, greeting cards, artwork, air plants and much more. The best reason to shop here? Everything is designed and made by emerging and veteran local designers, and the selections rotate frequently. Take that, Target!

1170 Auahi St., (808) 593-8958.


Travel Accessories

Travel accessories

Summer is here! That means travel plans are taking off and exciting adventures are on the way. But getting there can be dispiriting, unless you take a trip to The Refinery. The lifestyle shop has its share of impossibly charming, travel-worthy goods. Pack on the comfort and fun, and fill your carry-on with mini bloody mary and Old Fashioned cocktail kits by Carry On, travel-size sleep pillows that mold to your head, stylish passport covers, inspirational travel journals and, our favorite, an inflight deck of hanafuda playing cards.

Multiple locations,


New Menswear

Rumi Murakami
photo: courtesy of Ramsey cheng

Androgyny comes to mind when you think of the work of womenswear designer Rumi Murakami. Her love affair with combining femininity and masculinity started at a young age when she used to steal clothes from her dad’s, not mom’s, closet. This year, Murakami decided to man up and push out her first capsule collection of menswear. “My pieces often give a nod to tailoring details and manly silhouettes. Guys would notice my work and ask when I would start making clothes for them,” says Murakami. “Now, it’s finally happening. But, since there are only a few pieces, it feels more like I’m only dipping my toe in.” 


The Aki kimono jacket has adjustable straps built in so, when you’re not wearing it, you can carry it like a backpack. The relaxed, button-down Adam shirt and matching Ace walking shorts are Murakami’s version of a leisure suit. All the pieces are constructed from rich, Japanese-inspired fabrics and are made to be one-and-onlys in a guy’s closet. So jeans won’t be the only thing we’ll be stealing from our men.

307C Kamani St., (808) 551-0461.


Minimal Jewelry

Minimal jewelry
Top to bottom: Beautiful Chaos ring, Shanti ring, X ring and Bar ring

Don’t get us wrong, we’re all for a little accessory excess. Jewel-encrusted tiger’s-head necklace? Been there, totally rocked that. But we’re also big fans of understated glamour, and few do it better than Kira Hawai‘i, the less-is-more jewelry line from Mililani native Sheri Kira. The genius of the line lies in its balance of graphic-meets-organic silhouettes and low-key details. Think hammered wire rings molded into X, heart and serpentine forms, cuffs finished with thin bars, and lariat necklaces made of tiny diamond-shaped links. Most pieces are strictly metal—silver, 14K gold-filled or 14K rose-gold-filled, but recently Kira started incorporating dainty gems. The new Orbit and Pipeline rings feature circle and wave silhouettes dotted with single tourmaline, labradorite and chalcedony stones.

95-1249 Meheula Parkway, Suite 202, Mililani, (808) 382-7330.


Tropical Handbags

Jana lam bag

All the gals in our office follow Jana Lam’s Instagram so they can get dibs on anything the designer turns out. Last year, Lam debuted a banana-leaf leather hobo bag. It sold out in two days, which is why we’re a bit hesitant to tell you about her latest travel tote, The Sunday Fun Day carryall.


Designed by Lam’s intern, Irina Razuvan, the punchy-bright weekender bag was made to hold all your park and beach essentials, or, in Lam’s case, diapers and other mom necessities. What makes this a wish-list item? Lam explains: “We decided to highlight my signature print, Sea Flowers, with embroidery, and added triangles for a fun little detail. It’s something different from our hand-printed styles.” And, the last time we checked, only one staffer snagged the bag—so far.


Bikini Shop

Bikini Bird

First Acaia and Mara Hoffman; then LSpace and Aila Blue; and on the horizon Mikoh and Issa de’ Mar. Just like an epic swell, the Bikini Bird boutique keeps wave after wave of chic swimwear labels rolling in. Owner Tiana Becker Gamble opened the Kailua shop in early 2017 as a natural extension of her brand’s popular online store and we love its cache of locally designed suits and hard-to-find brands from Australia, California and Bali.

131 Hekili St., #103, Kailua, (808) 263-8389.


Modern Home Décor

Home decor

Forget home sweet home. We’d rather have home chic home. Feel the same way? Then head to Echo & Atlas. Just a few steps in and you’ll be inspired to redecorate your house, even if you had no plans to. Owner Julie McGee is a badass at finding polished-yet-playful home goods from all over the globe. “Being on an island creates a hunger for worldly treasures—I try to find functional, inspiring, rare and sometimes just beautiful products, and I never compromise on quality,” she says. Find handmade porcelain dishware from Mud Australia, Manta Peruvian handwoven rugs, super-soft Manoush knit blankets and more. Last tip: Cisco Brothers couches are available for custom order. Apparently, they’re super cool, and have been found lounging on the set of Scandal and HBO’s Big Little Lies.

1 N. Hotel St., (808) 536-7435.


Affordable Swimwear

S.tory Swimwear
photo: courtesy of S.tory standards

Getting the most bikini for your buck can be a challenge. Too low-end, and straps will snap at the gentlest wave lapping. Too pricey, and you’ll be sunbathing on the lānai, too broke to leave the house. We turn to S.tory Standards, by O‘ahu designer Sandra Tory. The sleek swim line is big on quality—all pieces are double lined, crafted with  seamless construction and supple yet supportive fabrics. And most pieces are a reasonable $75 to $150. “It matters to me that women who want to wear S.tory Standards can afford it,” says Tory. Her latest, the Elements Collection, features bold cut-outs and metallic finishes.


Place to Purchase Art

Reader Pick

Sure, we know its frame game is strong, but Pictures Plus offers a lot more than just some hang time for your photos. Recently the company made the move to provide printing services, and added aluminum to the list of platforms customers can select to print their photos on. However, a big reason the shop receives exposure is its offering of top-notch artwork from talented local artists. From Peter Tang’s breathtaking lava flow images to Cameron Brooks’ surreal aerial photos of the Island’s lush mountains and majestic waters, the shop’s beautiful art collection makes it hard to make a snap decision.

Multiple locations,


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