Best of Honolulu 2018: Shopping

The 14 editorial picks for the chic-est shopping in the city.

Men’s Jeans

Salvage Public

Okayama in Japan is known as the denim capital of the world. What you’ll find there are manufacturers that cater to making high-quality selvage jeans, including the ones sold at Salvage Public. “Selvage denim uses the fabric’s outer edge and tends to be denser,” says co-owner Joseph Serrao. “We manufacture in Okayama because they’re the best at what they do. Our aloha shirts are made here, because that’s what Hawai‘i is known for.” Makes sense. And, for men, the perfect pair is comfortable, simple and durable. Denim devotees understand that, including Serrao and his business partners, brother Noah Serrao and Nāpali Souza. “Our dark and stone wash jeans sit where they’re naturally supposed to sit, not too high or low,” explains Joe. “And, because they’re made from Japanese selvage denim, they’re sturdier and last longer.” The label also offers a denim jacket that shares the same high-quality elements, but a button concealing front placket and embroidered logo give
it some personality.


South Shore Market, (808) 589-0500,



Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino

When it comes to fresh Island-inspired toppers, we’ve got to tip our hats to the fellas at Fitted. Former pro skateboarder Rene Matthyssen and Keola Naka‘ahiki Rapozo, a Honolulu Community College fashion tech graduate and former Tori Richard designer, founded the cap label in 2005, bringing their passions for streetwear and perpetuating Hawaiian culture to a head in one cool, conscious brand. Fit, as the name implies, is key—there’s a style for every noggin, from the best-selling 950s (six-panel flat bills) and campers to dad hats and the brand’s signature fitted lids. And so is the storytelling nature of Fitted’s graphics, designed to instill pride of place and spark conversations about Hawai‘i’s past. Limited-edition collabs, small batch sizes and frequent releases (every Tuesday and Saturday) up the covetability factor. Next to drop? The Lei Ānuenue cap, created by high school students through the brand’s mentorship program with Ānuenue School. Proceeds will go toward a new school gym. 


1438 Kona St., Suite B, (808) 942-3100,


Fashion Label that Gives Back

Photo: Courtesy of YIreh

Fashion designers impress, inspire and influence us. But sometimes it’s not through their clothes—it’s through their actions. Case in point, owner and designer of Yireh, Emily Valdez. “Since I couldn’t afford to attend fashion school, I decided to see the world at the age of 18.  I’ve traveled to over 18 countries on medical relief and humanitarian aid trips,” says Valdez. “Then one day while I was living in Bali, I met a family of seamstresses who were struggling. We became friends and I decided they were who I wanted to invest in and designed my first pair of shorts for them to make.” Beginning with her first collection in 2014, Valdez has donated 10 percent of Yireh’s sales to various nonprofits and charities. Currently she’s working with International Justice Mission, which rescues children and adults from human trafficking. Valdez also gives overstocked Yireh items to organizations that provide makeovers for women, still donates her time to people in the community who are going through hard times and turns out six sought-after, ethically made collections every year. Honestly, who needs Saint Laurent when you have Saint Emily?


Fabric Store

Kaimukī Dry Goods
Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino 

Whether you’re Hawai‘i’s next Project Runway superstar, whipping up keiki hula skirts or just getting your craft on, Kaimukī Dry Goods is the place to go for those feeling sew-inclined. Opened by the Takeya family in 1926, the original Kaimukī Dry Goods Store was a humble five-and-dime that offered alteration services out of the back. “My grandfather bought the store for my grandmother who was a dressmaker,” says Dee Dee Miyashiro, the Takeyas’ granddaughter and current company president. Today, the shop is our go-to for sewing supplies and top-quality fabrics, from delicate bridal laces and linings to sturdy upholstery textiles and crisp cottons in novelty, Japanese, Hawaiian and contemporary American prints. The knowledgeable staff keep the notions and bolts tidy and, most importantly, clearly labeled—because if you’ve ever slaved over a mystery fabric only to have it shrink all hamajang, then you know what a total stitch that is.


1144 10th Ave., (808) 734-2141,


Scented Candles

Jules + Gem Hawaiʻi
Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino​

We’ve got a nose for delicious home fragrances and lately it’s been leading us straight to Honolulu candle label Jules + Gem Hawai‘i. Owner Lana Gronwald hand-pours each candle using soy wax, an ecofriendly wax made from soybean oil that burns cleaner and longer than paraffin wax, and wood wicks, which burn more evenly than cotton wicks and give off a soft crackling sound. The scents are lovely and light, never overpowering and pair tropical fruits and flowers with hints of mint, vanilla and coconut.


House-Warming Gifts

The Refinery
Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino

With our insane property market, landing a new nest is cause to celebrate. And when it comes to housewarming parties, there’s no easier way to secure a spot on the best guest list than with a stop at The Refinery. The locally owned gift shop is a full house of delightful design-minded wares. For the homies with black thumbs, scoop up a monstera-print pillow. Toast mix masters with Mason jar cocktail shakers. Art fans will adore the gorgeous coffee table books. And with summer newly upon us, be sure to check out the just-in Le Cadeaux melamine dinnerware, perfect presents for any backyard bashers.


Mutiple locations,


Wedding Gift

Eden in Love
Photo: David Croxford

Finding a unique, charming wedding gift is not always a piece of cake. But, thanks to Eden in Love, you don’t have to swing generic. Browse the formerly-known-as-The-Wedding-Café’s boutique and you’ll land upon some big-day bounties, including husband-and-wife luggage tags and passport holders, newlywed cookbooks, Volcano candle sets, Slant toasting glasses and cards from stationery giant Rifle Paper Co. “We recommend combining smaller, fun items to make one outstanding gift,” says owner Tanna Dang. “If you decide to go with the luggage tags, maybe add a gift card to upgrade the couple’s honeymoon airline tickets.” That might be more ultimate bestie level, but whatever gift you give, you’ll be pronounced best fan. Ever.


Multiple locations,



Sig Zane Designs
Photo: David Croxford

From Sig and Kūha‘o Zane’s daily manicured looks to their sleek travel gear, their aesthetic is clean, curated and cultured. That’s why we had to give a shoutout to Sig Zane Designs’ hoodies. For the past three years, the father-and-son team have taken the iconic streetwear symbol and turned it into an everyday essential that’s part hood, part Hawaiian and all style. “Growing up in the ’60s, we had see-through parkas lined with tropical prints. That inspired me to create a contemporary piece that offered that kind of youthful zeal,” explains Sig Zane. “Kaipo‘i, our hoodie, means ‘ocean cover,’ alluding to surfing when the breaking wave shades you from the sunlight. We use the same fabric as our aloha shirts, so it looks crisp but has a little more casual aesthetic.” Besides the highly recognizable modern graphic prints that infuse Hawaiian culture, we also applaud the hoodies’ fashion-meets-function deets: four-button frontal placket, front kangaroo pocket and coconut-button cuffs. And the clincher? They’re designed in Hilo and hand-printed and sewn in Honolulu. Gotta love that hood life.


1020 Smith St.,


Monogram Jewelry

By Chari
Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino

Lately we’ve been hanging on local designer Chari Cuthbert’s every word, and with good reason. When it comes to monogrammed adornments, alpha female Cuthbert is the reigning queen thanks to the charming initial and name necklaces she creates for her label By Chari. Let us spell it out for you—delicate yellow gold, white gold and rose gold chains (perfect for layering) are custom strung with dainty capital letters of the same making. Pretty floating diamonds can be added to the strands and those looking to really make a statement can even opt for glammed-up letters iced with rows of sparkling pavé diamonds.


Tote Bags

Cameron Hawaiʻi
Photo: David Croxford​

Totes. Everywhere you shop, there’s a wall of them. We don’t mean to bag on the popular accessory, but when we considered what makes a great tote, one brand came to mind: Cameron Hawai‘i. Owner Bobby Ikeda started making canvas bags in 2009. The initial collection started with words like “Aloha,” “Paradise” and “Hawai‘i” in charming, bold graphics. Nothing to carry on about, but as the collections developed we fell in love with new prints, fabrics and sizes. Now, there are more than 25 patterns including cheery bananas, chic seashells and playful palms. Select from two sizes: the bucket tote, which hauls everyday basics such as keys, a laptop and fashion mags, and the beach bag that handles everything for the sun, surf and sand. Recently Ikeda added durable denim to his fabric lineup—which instantly landed on our must-have bucket list. 


South Shore Market, (808) 596-2222,


Boutique to Find a Girl’s Night Out Ensemble

Photo: Courtesy of Mikinola

GNO is Christmas for women. They get to be a little naughty, a lot nice and lit like a holiday fir. But, before they can get into the spirit, they have to find an outfit that will slay. Enter Mikinola. The Hawai‘i Kai-based boutique will have you dripping in finesse in short, flirty dresses; sexy, chic jumpsuits; show-some-skin tops; and form-flattering denims. Owner Dara Fujio boasts, “We have over 100 designers rotating through the shop and a lot of the lines are exclusive to us, so the fear of you wearing the same thing as someone else is much less.” Fujio also prides herself on bringing in pieces that appeal to all ages. “Our customers range from teens to 80-year-olds and my staff is trained to know how to put together an outfit for any body type or age. We ask your style, where you’re going, what you had in mind. This helps us find the perfect ensemble for you.” 


Koko Marina Center, (808) 394-6666,


Wrap Dresses

XIX Palms
Photo: Courtesy of XIX Palms

The ingredients for the perfect wrap dress are as follows: a beautifully draped neckline that dips to reveal just enough décolletage, a cascading ruffled leg opening that flows effortlessly with every move, a curve-skimming silhouette that hugs in all the right places. North Shore label XIX Palms has nailed the mix handily with its flattering rayon numbers whipped up by designer Ali Botma. Inspired by exotic escapes, the frocks come with short, long or dramatic kimono-style sleeves, and feature dreamy tropical and floral motifs. Double your yield by throwing one open and rocking it as a boho-chic duster, and then you’re really cooking.



With Love from Paradise
Photo: Courtesy of With Love From Paradise

An ancient fashion proverb says: The cuter the workout gear, the more likely you are to make it to the gym. OK, OK, so we might have fudged that one, but there does seem to be something to flexing your style muscles as a means to reaching your fitness goals. Case in point, With Love From Paradise, the activewear line created by Kaua‘i native Amie Gaines that’s so fly it’s actually got us pumped about getting in shape. The brand’s bralettes, leggings and shorts are outfitted with clever construction details that do the heavy lifting—dry-fit fabrics, breathable mesh panels and chafe-free seams, while trendy aesthetics, including high waists and vibrant tropical prints, really get hearts racing.


Keiki Boutique

Photo: David Croxford

J. Crew masters crayon brights on brights. Zara dominates affordable trendy fashion. But, when it comes to finding keiki clothing that screams, “I’m local,” Hopscotch is the hands-down fave. Hop, pop or drop into the shop and you’ll find a fun selection of locally designed tees adorned with punny messages: Tako ’Bout Cute, In Lava with Mama and Boom Shaka Laka. To match, the boutique stocks onesies, bloomers, shorts and dresses with charming Hawai‘i-inspired prints that include pineapples, Spam musubi and kalo leaves. And the stylish fun doesn’t stop at kid-n-play apparel. Other popular pint-size picks are the magical unicorn nightlights, D.I.Y. lettering and lightboxes, Mini Melissa jelly sandals, oh-so-soft swaddles and quilts, and junior rashguard sets. 


Ward Village, (808) 593-1825,