Local Brand Laulima’s Designs Feature Lovely Native Flora and Fauna
Helmed by a conservation biologist, the Hilo label’s nature-inspired fashions and home goods are a call to protect endangered native species.
A week’s trek deep into the wilds of Kaua‘i, alone among the pines and straining against the silence to hear the distinct calls of endangered birds, Danya Weber found her calling. It was 2017 and the conservation biologist, who had just graduated from college, had immersed herself in the island’s pristine forests on behalf of a local wildlife research project. The thrill she felt in those remote lands, surrounded by rare flora and fauna untouched by civilization, cemented it: She would dedicate her life to protecting native Hawaiian ecosystems.
It was also around then that Weber linked her passion for preservation with her love of drawing. “It was an aha! moment,” she says, of the art show she put on with a fellow conservationist. “We realized that this was a way to share vital information about endangered species with the public.” The support it received was overwhelming, spurring Weber to create Laulima, which donates 10% of profits to local conservation efforts.
The line started off small with patches, stickers and enamel pins; her latest pin set stars a trio of delicate sphinx months. It has since grown to include apparel featuring illustrations of endemic land snails, insects, fungi and plants. Laulima’s cool shell and bird skull tees take inspiration from Bishop Museum’s specimen collection. And Weber collaborated with renowned bird conservationist and artist H. Douglas Pratt on a lovely honeycreeper tee. Most are printed in Hawai‘i and all are made in the U.S. using nontoxic ink and 100% cotton fabrics. Recently, Weber’s even branched out into aloha shirts.
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Laulima also created a beautiful field guide with artist Nicole Nakata, printed on tear- and water-resistant paper, for identifying native Hawaiian plants and flowers. And we’re quite taken with its home items, which include gorgeous pillowcases, tea towels, journals and show-stopping woven blankets.
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Though she grew up in San Francisco, Weber’s childhood involved many summers with family on O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island, and she now lives in Hilo. All the while her ‘ohana raised her to appreciate its special environment. “Hawai‘i is the extinction capital of the world. The situation is dire, but also, these species are part of what makes Hawai‘i so unique. They’re so isolated from the rest of the world. Hawai‘i is just this little hotspot of [bio]diversity. There’s just nothing else like it and its living creatures.”
Availalble online and in select stores, laulima.store, @laulimahawaii
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