Meet The Cut Collective Hawaii
The stylish trio that’s moving local fashion forward.
Left to right: Izu Song wearing Allison Izu Sunset Skinny Pant, $88, Chelsea organic cotton knit top, $58. Shiigi wearing Ten Tomorrow Bridgette dress, $124. Montemayor wearing Collins Tamia Resort One-Shoulder Mini Dress, $138.
SHOOT LOCATION: PAD HAWAII
You may already be familiar with fashion talents Allison Izu Song, Summer Shiigi and Maida Montemayor. But what you may not know, is that the three are responsible for one of the most exciting endeavors to pop up on the local style radar in recent years—The Cut Collective, a concept that’s changing the game for island designers.
The trio had a little bit of history to start. Montemayor carried Izu Song’s Allison Izu denim line in her boutique, Collins and 8th, a go-to resource for Shiigi’s personal styling business, Summer Style. But, the women didn’t officially join forces until last September’s Hawaii Fashion Month, during which they found themselves commiserating about their frustrations with local apparel production.
Montemayor had just launched Collins, her womenswear line, and was finding the process overwhelming. “I don’t have a design background, so going in I had no production experience. I didn’t know what questions to ask or what prices were fair,” she says. Shiigi, who was in the midst of developing her own line, Ten Tomorrow, was facing an almost identical experience.
The two turned to Izu Song, a six-year veteran, for guidance, but even she was struggling to grow her brand solo.
“From there it came together quickly, and by November, The Cut Collective was born,” says Montemayor. The concept was simple—power in numbers. The trio would pool their knowledge and serve as a support system for developing their lines.
Then, a bigger goal emerged. The team realized that if they wanted to achieve longevity, they would have to strengthen the local fashion industry overall. They would make it more accessible by offering up resources to streamline the production process, and in doing so, create affordable manufacturing options.
They set up shop in Manoa, transforming an office space into an incubator-meets-factory hybrid. From there The Cut Collective manages projects from start to finish. “That includes everything from costing the project out and developing samples to ordering fabrics and working with the manufacturer to secure prices and hit all deadlines,” says Shiigi.
They also offer insider guidance. For example, not all factories are willing to take on small designers. The Cut Collective gets them a foot in the door. And not just any door, the right one. The factories are vetted by the team, and designers are directed to the best fit for their particular needs. Such tutelage is crucial, saving designers from wasting time, effort and money on rookie mistakes.
It’s all part of The Cut Collective’s big picture. “We hope to help all local designers achieve their dreams,” says Izu Song.
Allison Izu Song
Line: Allison Izu
Look: Petite, premium denim and casual-cool separates
Spring Picks: Izu Song transformed breezy chambray into shirttail-hem shorts and skater dresses and gave her comfy knit tops updates courtesy of vintage, Hawaiian-print fabric backings.
Line: Ten Tomorrow
Look: A mix of retro-girlish and modern
Spring Picks: Shiigi hit on multiple moods with a range of flirty styles, including a flowy, dalmatian-print cami and swingy, chain-print ’40s frock, and sleek, stark-white minimal pieces, including a chiffon-trimmed pencil skirt.
Look: Lively, graphic prints and feminine touches
Spring Picks: Montemayor focused on easy elegance. Think scalloped knit shorts and kimono jackets in eye-catching tropical patterns and one-shoulder mini dresses topped with abstract peonies.
A few of the local labels who are clients of The Cut Collective.
From left to right: Rumi Murakami, Aloha Sailor and Gypsy
The honorary fourth member of The Cut Collective, Rumi Murakami shares its work space and often lends creative input and pattern-making expertise to its projects. For spring, the designer continued to build on her collection of tailored, minimalist pieces, but added fun dresses, soft knits and jumpers to her mix.
As its name suggests, designer Ed Fernandez’s line of unisex, ocean-minded clothing and accessories features easy-to-throw-on tees, tanks and hoodies tagged with cheeky nautical sayings and emblems. Naval anchor patches on trucker hats and duffles round out his next, must-sea collection.
One of the only locally made lingerie lines, Gypsy brings out the intimate side of a woman. Up next for designer Kate Ruggiero—punchy, tropical patterns, neon paint splatters and polka dots on skivvies and lightweight bralettes that have got you covered in all the right places.
How it Works
The skinny on how The Cut Collective takes local designers from start to finish.
Start: Small Local Designer
Some may be launching a line from scratch while others just need help fine-tuning an existing line.
Step 1: Initial Meeting
The Cut Collective team meets with designer to explain the process and nail down the scope of the project. Once determined, a project proposal is drafted, laying out all steps and costs.
Step 2: Proposal
Once the proposal is approved, Izu Song works with client to finalize their designs, drafting and producing patterns based on their sketches. The manufactuer will use these to produce their line.
Step 3: Concept & Design
Once the patterns are approved, Izu Song sources fabric and oversees the making of samples (fully sewn prototypes). The samples may go through several rounds of tweaking.
Step 4: Samples
Upon sample approval, Izu Song orders all of the necessary fabrics, trims and labels.
Step 5: Cutting
Shiigi bundles and delivers the cuttings to the factory.
Step 6: Local Manufacturer
Shiigi handles all project management, making sure that the factory is on track and hitting all deadlines.
Step 7: Quality Control
The factory turns out the line and The Cut Collective transports it to its studio, where each piece is inspected and any production errors are corrected. Finally, if needed, the line is packaged (tagged, bagged and boxed) to go out.
Finish! Designers pick up their finished lines.
Montemayor also handles PR and marketing for The Cut Collective, which includes everything from developing brand strategies and whipping up press releases to managing media relations and The Cut Collective website.
For more info, visit thecutcollectivehi.com. Shop The Cut Collective’s showroom by appointment, firstname.lastname@example.org, 2800 Woodlawn Dr., Suite 192. For individual designers’ stockists, visit allisonizu.com, tentomorrow.com and shop.collinsand8th.com.