Earth-Friendly, Fashionable Local Brands

Two local companies helmed by women prove style and sustainability fit perfectly together.


Onepaa mood board

Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


We sought out local brands who are successfully marrying fashion and style with eco-conscious practices to produce distinctive, thoughtful products.


Naturally Good

“Research is critical,” says Nitasha Lyman-Mersereau, “to create a brand that is environmentally responsible and intentional in its practices.” She devours climate change articles daily, learning how to rightly grow her eco-friendly lifestyle brand, Onepa‘a Hawai‘i, that launched in 2019.


The Maui native says she was always that high school friend who challenged her crew to use reusable utensils. And, while global preservation is the catalyst for Lyman-Mersereau’s eco-conscious crusade, honoring the Hawaiian culture also takes a front seat in driving her business.


Onepaa jumpsuit

Photo: Pekuna Hong/Kicking Bird Photography


“Fashion is not something I’ve always been comfortable with, but I’ve learned to use it as a vessel to express my creativity—in all aspects,” she says. “I’m thoughtful in the designs I create while celebrating native flora and birds. In that regard, it’s vital to discover innovative ways to take care of the things that inspire me.”


Running a small local label with little money to waste, she admits, means she has to be savvy in the ethical practices she chooses when creating lifestylewear for families, especially women. By sourcing organic fabrics from manufacturers, creating made-to-order pieces to eliminate wasteful overstock, selecting printing methods that use fewer chemicals and less water, and designing a plastic-free T-shirt line that is made domestically, she fashioned her own business path while minimizing her retail carbon footprint., @onepaahawaii



Two local companies helmed by women prove style and sustainability fit perfectly together.


To Dye For

Coffee grounds from The Curb. Avocado pits from Arvo. Onion skins from Down to Earth. As the adage goes, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. In this case, the lucky person is Kristin Baucom, owner of local textile dyeing business OK Bet.


The 26-year-old with a degree in natural resources and environmental management is a wizard at producing dyes from fallen foliage, flowers and fruit; recyclable refuse; and dirt from Mililani. In May 2021, she introduced her online shop, which has a super cool offering of hand-dyed streetwear, including Nike socks dyed with strawberry guava leaves, coconut-husk-dyed scrunchies, and shoelaces dyed with onion skins.


Kristin Baucom foraging for leaves

Photo: Courtesy of OK Bet


To create the dyes, she forages all over the island to find anything she can extract color from. Even when she is driving, her eyes are open to possibilities. “If I see a mango tree, I’ll make a mental note to ask the owner if there’s any inedible fruit he wants to give away.” Through trial and error, she found that “plants are like people—their environment affects their core. A leaf from Hawai‘i Kai will produce a different color than a leaf from Mānoa.”


For the dyeing process, Baucom scours fabrics; soaks leaves, fruits and flowers for hours (or days); adds chemical agents to fix the dyes to the textiles; then dyes, dries and washes the garments—sometimes triple dyeing a piece to get a richer outcome. “Yes,” she says, “it takes a lot of discipline and patience.”


Others in the industry are huge supporters of her art. She’s been commissioned to do work for Here, Banan, Arvo and Sig Zane Designs. “The Sig project involved dyeing a collection of shirts featuring an ‘ulu print. The ‘ulu leaves I used for the dye were from the tree that inspired his first ‘ulu print—that was a great full-circle moment.”,