In The Bag

Once upon a time there was a swath of brightly colored fabric patterned with delicate flowers. A woman purchased it to cover her dining table and impress her family during their weekly dinner. Many moons later, her daughter sewed that tablecloth into a sassy mu‘umu‘u to wear on her first date. Years passed, and her own daughter sold that dress to a vintage shop, where a young Kaua‘i girl named Meleana saw it and said, This must be mine.

And so the Kaua‘i girl (this is for real now) sewed vintage fabric into a large handbag fitted with a fun tortoise shell-colored handle, and called it Nui Loa. It’s still her favorite style, though www.leichic.commany other fabrics with bright lei colors have birthed many new bags, each one-of-a-kind or sold in limited quantities.

Today found fabrics still inspire Meleana, and she just launched her line’s newest bag, the “Chinatown,” with signature vintage fabric adorning forest green or chocolate brown leather, and a strap punctuated with shiny gold rings. There’s also a classy canvas version with brushed bronze rings for a subtler look.

Either way, it’s the perfect modern accessory for the Honolulu girl wanting to live happily ever after – with vibrant, day-to-night fashion that tells a story for years to come.

And that’s no fairy tale.

Available at Cake, 2484 Keneke Street in Kilauea on the Big Island, 808.828.6412, and online at