Best of Honolulu – Shopping
Best Hip, Locally Made Jewelry: GINGER 13
Those circle-and-stone pendants and star earrings you see on trendy women around town are usually the work of ‘Aiea’s Cindy Yokoyama, the young owner and designer of the Ginger 13 line. Yokoyama studied painting at the University of Hawai’i, where, she says, abstract shapes, asymmetry and color captivated her.
“I incorporate that in my jewelry. It’s like a language I use to express my artistic side in a different media.” At first, jewelry was a hobby, but now, Ginger 13 is carried at MisFortune, Crazy Beautiful and Pineapple County, as well as stores in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and parts of Canada. Her pieces, which might mix tiny plastic dice with Island materials, such as kukui nuts, coconut shell or shark’s teeth, run about $50 to $80. She also does custom work. “It’s an amazing feeling to get a following,” she says.
Best Men’s Boutique: IN4MATION
Guys searching for style-conscious, but not cookie-cutter, threads have made In4mation a favorite shopping stop.
|In4mation offers hip clothing for young men. photo: Karin Kovalsky|
“The whole reason we started the store was because we were tired of seeing the same old stuff everywhere,” says one of In4mation’s owners, Todd Shimabuku. The store, which has expanded to two locations, carries hip, hard-to-find street wear. It’s the only store in the United States to carry the bold graphic designs of Fiberops, for example.
Lines from Japan, New York City and Los Angeles provide much of the clothing, but In4mation also has its own, ever-expanding clothing line–love that stripper/chandelier print shirt. On the rest of the shelves, you’ll find baseball hats, limited-release Nike and DC sneakers, art, magazines and collectible toys and figurines. T-shirts run $23 to $80; a hooded sweater, $295. What’s next? According to Shimabuku, “The look is going more away from hip hop and more towards punk and rock.” Ward Warehouse, 597-1447; or Waikiki Shopping Plaza, 2250 Kalakaua Ave., 923-0888.
Best Craft Fair: DIAMOND HEAD ARTS AND CRAFT FAIR
One of the largest craft fairs on the island, the Diamond Head Arts and Craft Fair has been around for nearly two decades and boasts up to 222 vendors each year, including woodwork, glassware, ceramics and clothing. As the island’s best craft fair, the organizers ensure that each item is handcrafted by the vendor. This means high-quality, locally made goods, such as stained glass windowpanes, koa pens and homemade soaps. The best only comes around once a year; the fair is held on the second Sunday of November. (Nov. 12, 2006 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) at Kapi’olani Community College.
|photo: Lori Anne Tomonari|
Best Maternity Wear: HOT MAMA
Ladies, it’s time to ditch the age-old, mommy-to-be uniform. You know it; you’ve seen it–tentlike tops, billowing mu’umu’u or your exact wardrobe, just a few sizes up. Paige McGuire, owner of Hot Mama, is here to help, offering expectant mothers fashion and comfort. Must-haves include tops with rouching in all the right places, designer denim with hidden spandex panels and trendy, incognito diaper bags. 3435 Wai’alae Ave., Suite 106A. 737-2737.
Best Women’s Boutique: VALERIE JOSEPH
It’s tucked away in McCully Shopping Center, and has been open only since October, but Valerie Joseph has generated buzz all over Honolulu. If you’re tired of the same old, same old, stop by and check out the refreshing collection, including exclusive lines, such as BCBG Girls and French Connection, as well as the store’s own private label. Browse through the racks of clothing, ranging from dressy, lacy tops to casual tees and lingerie. Though some items are pricey, you can build an entire outfit for under $200, including a handbag and jewelry. At the back of the store is a large, antique wooden table covered in affordable bangles, earrings, long necklaces, pendants and beads. 1960 Kapi’olani Blvd., Suite 111. 942-5258.
Best Antiques Store: ANTIQUE ALLEY
The interior of Antique Alley looks as if eight of the world’s biggest pack rats got together and formed a business, which is fitting, given that’s exactly what happened. Eight vendors, who have more or less been working together for 23 years (they were previously at the Honolulu Swap Meet) show their eclectic wares–everything from jewelry to local street signs to surf memorabilia–in the overflowing space. Most of the merchandise “walks in the door,” says vendor Melave Harman, vintage finds brought in after the passing of a relative or the cleaning out of a garage. The vendors are selective about what they buy, and specialize in pre-statehood artifacts. “My business card reads, cultural recycler,” says A. Pake Zane, another vendor. “It’s the stories that go with all the artifacts, whether it’s a soda bottle, booklet or a flashlight.” 1347 Kapi’olani Blvd., 941-8551.
Best Place to Spice up Your Love Life: SENSUALLY YOURS
Having braved numerous sex shops here in Honolulu and beyond, we were pleasantly surprised when we walked into Sensually Yours and saw that it was devoid of dollar viewing rooms, suspicious odors and a guy smoking a Parliament at the check-out counter. The space is well-lit and clean; even the most bashful pair should feel comfortable walking in. Couples will find a large selection of lingerie (brands such as On Gossamer and Felina), accessories (furry handcuffs, anyone?), battery-operated toys of all shapes and sizes, books and DVDs. There’s also a great section for bachelorette parties. And, they do at-home parties. 1130 N. Nimitz Highway, Suite A112, 599-1655.
Best Camera Shop: KAIMUKI CAMERA
The digital revolution in photography means that most people nowadays get their cameras online or at CompUSA. But for those missing the one-on-one attention and expert advice that only a dedicated camera shop can provide, Kaimuki Camera is still going strong. It’s a tiny space at the top of Wai’alae Avenue, but this shooters’ mecca carries a panoply of photographic equipment, including Canon and Olympus camera gear, photo paper, inks and film, darkroom supplies, digital media and tons of accessories. The real draw, though, is the friendly customer service and astute guidance provided by owners Neil and Pat Sananikone. They’ve been running the store since 1983, and have turned it into a gathering place for local shutterbugs, both amateur and pro, who come to trade industry news and drool over the newest in camera technology. “It is one of those old-time stores where you feel like you’re meeting with friends,” says one photo enthusiast. The Sananikones’ expertise in specialty printing makes this the place to go for great-looking enlargements and art prints. Kaimuki Camera, 3622 Wai’alae Ave., 735-5955.
Best Store to Satisfy Hippie Pets: NATURALLY PET
When it comes to food, Yumi Iseki believes dogs and cats should have it just as good as their owners. That’s why she founded Naturally Pet, which sells only organic and human-grade pet food lines, such as Royal Canin, Eagle Pack, Pet Promise and Organix. “For a lot of people, their pets are like their babies, and they want to do everything right,” Iseki says. “In the long run, these clean foods are better for their pets. They’re healthier and they look better.” Naturally Pet also carries natural cookies and jerky treats, as well as vitamin and mineral supplements. 535 Ward Ave. #106; 591-9944. www.naturallypet.com.
Best Used Bookstore: FRIENDS OF KAILUA LIBRARY BOOKSTORE
You won’t find the best used bookstore on O’ahu in the yellow pages. That’s because the Friends of Kailua Library BookStore occupies what used to be a community meeting room at the Kailua Public Library. “We have everything from textbooks to reference books to paperback fiction and nonfiction. Anything that you could possibly imagine, we have,” says supervisor Leigh Prentiss. Because the entire collection is donated, nearly every book costs either fifty cents or a dollar, and the stock is constantly changing. Thirty-one volunteers keep this place open for limited hours six days a week. –Terry Hunter, KGMB9 239 Ku’ulei Road, Kailua, 266-9911.