Locally Made Gift Ideas

Soozou, Noelani Designs and Boottopia.

You’re already done with your holiday shopping, right? We didn’t think so. Here are three great gift ideas—all from emerging local artists—that will have you crossing names off your list in no time.

Photo: Sheila Sarhangi

Sail Into this New Store

You may have heard of Pia Kuhlemann, the German-born designer behind Soozou, a line of handmade bags fashioned out of sails that once navigated Hawaii’s seas. Before now, you could only analyze her one-of-a-kind clutches, totes, beach and shoulder bags through a computer screen or at select shops. In August she opened Etown, a small store off Smith Street that doubles as Kuhlemann’s workspace. (She shares it with her sister, Suzanna, designer of the swimwear line 1979.) Kuhlemann continues to partner with women of Kokua Kalihi Valley Community Health Center, who help make the bags and earn income and learn skills in return. Check it out, mates. Bags run between $65 and $150. 1164 Smith St.; etownstudios.com.


Photo: Gollestani


Island-Inspired Jewelry

“My style is part island-glam, part elegantly exotic,” says North Shore jewelry designer Noelani Love. She credits this duality to her conservative upbringing in North Carolina, mixed with summers spent on Oahu. Thus, Love’s designs ($38 to $98) can be worn day or night, at the beach or at dinner. Pieces are made of high-quality sterling silver, 14K-gold-filled metals and natural materials drawn from the earth and sea, such as turquoise and freshwater pearls. Attention, egomaniacs: If you purchase the first of a certain design, she’ll name the item after you. noelanidesigns.com




Photo: David Croxford


Faux Old-School T-Shirts

In November 2008, Boots Lupenui’s wife asked him to make a few shirts as Christmas presents for friends. “I tried to imagine that I came across an old trunk in my dad’s house and opened it up and found these T-shirts,” says the graphic artist and illustrator. “I made up stories and wove them into the real history of each place and time.” Although spots like, “Coconut Island Surfboards” and “Lehua’s Lau Lounge” are fiction, many folks argue that they exist. “I still have people come up to me and say, ‘Hey man, my father-in-law used to go to that place, give me a [size] double X.’” $25 per shirt; boottopia.com.