Laha‘ole Designs Debuts New Apparel Line at Chinatown’s First Friday
The jewelry company is expanding with new looks that you can see (and buy!) at a fashion show on November 1.
Editor’s Note: Through our partnership with the Hawai‘i State Art Museum, HONOLULU Magazine publishes a monthly blog written by Lisa Shiroma, owner of the HiSAM Museum Gallery Shop.
Photo: Tanya Uyehara
Laha‘ole Designs is a beautiful empire created by an incredible person: Tanya Uyehara. You may have seen Uyehara with her friendly smile and gorgeous jewelry at the Made In Hawai‘i Festival, Merrie Monarch Festival on the Big Island or at other special events around town. What you probably didn’t know is that she designs and creates each and every jewelry piece by hand. And she does it while raising her four children with her husband. To me it’s like witnessing someone complete the seemingly impossible American Ninja Warrior obstacle course. Uyehara is a boss girl on a whole ’nother level.
Uyehara was born into a family of craftsmen and women, musicians, hula dancers and artists. While on maternity leave in 2012, she began creating handmade jewelry for her nieces for Christmas. This was the spark that started her journey. She named her company after her only daughter, Pikake Hepualaha‘ole—the uncommon flower. With Laha‘ole Designs, each piece of jewelry is made to share a unique story. “Each collection has kaona (a hidden meaning) … that brings each piece to life, and connects the design to the wearer,” she says.
Photos: Tanya Uyehara
Now she’s ready to take her brand to the next level. On First Friday, Nov. 1, she will debut “‘Ilima,” the first collection of her new clothing line featuring tops, dresses, tanks and pants, at a fashion show at the Hawai‘i State Art Museum. Hawai‘i’s ‘ilima flower was a natural choice as her muse since it’s the official flower of O‘ahu, where she was born and raised. It takes hundreds of these elegant golden orange flowers to complete just one lei. (‘Ilima lei were once only worn by chiefs.)
“Like the delicate flower, this collection is set to exude the beauty and desirability of every woman, encapsulating her strong but gentle side,” Uyehara says, “to make a statement without saying anything at all, and to enhance her beauty effortlessly. Like the lei, the collection also represents strength in numbers, how when we come together we can create something beautiful. Wild, flowy and free … find the ‘ilima in me.”
Photos (from left to right): Taylor St. John, Abby Oh Photo
Fashion show starts at 7 p.m. on Nov. 1, 250 S. Hotel St. Pieces from the ‘Ilima collection will be available for purchase at the gallery shop. Blouses, $77; dresses, $105. ‘Ilima jewelry, which debuted earlier this year, is also available in sterling silver and vermeil, $50–$85. lahaoledesigns.com
isa Shiroma is the owner of the HiSAM Museum Gallery Shop and runs it with partners Aly Ishikuni-Sasaki and Travis Sasaki from Mori by Art + Flea.
Lisa worked as gallery manager for Koa Art Gallery at KCC from 2014 to 2017.
In July 2017, Lisa, Travis and Aly renovated and reopened the Hawai‘i State Art Museum’s gift shop space as a new art gallery and gift shop “for Hawai‘i artists, by Hawai‘i artists.”