One to Watch: Hawai‘i Clothing Designer Lynn Sakutori of Local Brand, A-Line
Meet the little-known local designer behind some favorite womenswear lines.
Hometown: Born in Mililani, moved to Wailuku when she was 12
Education: UH Mānoa, B.S. in fashion design
Aesthetic: Simple, subtle, timeless
Résumé: New York: Nine West, Kenneth Cole, The Limited; Hawai‘i: Sakutori for Nordstrom, Lauren Michele for Sears, Leina‘ala and Lauren M. Petites for Macy’s, A-Line
Stockists: Shop A-Line at Eden in Love, Hawai‘i Macy’s, alinehawaii.com
Her name may not ring a bell, but there’s a good chance you’re already a fan of Lynn Sakutori’s fashions. She’s helmed lines for Nordstrom, Sears and Macy’s while juggling two of her own, including her latest—A-Line, known for its comfy-chic graphic-print knitwear. Always crazy busy and more than a little attention-shy, Sakutori tends to fly waaay under the radar (we basically had to stalk her then bribe her with mochi doughnuts to get this interview), so we’re thrilled to give her a much deserved turn in the spotlight.
HONOLULU Magazine: What first sparked your interest in fashion?
Lynn Sakutori: At age 12, I took a 4-H summer sewing class and fell in love with designing clothes. I started making my own outfits—the first garment I made was a pair of simple elastic shorts. From there I made prom dresses for friends and went on to teach sewing to elementary and middle school students.
HM: What was the impetus behind A-Line?
LS: I wanted to create a custom knitwear line that was both fashionable and practical for women in Hawai‘i. It was also important to me to design and create everything in Hawai‘i.
HM: Why knitwear?
LS: Knitwear works terrific in Hawai‘i because of the warm weather. It’s comfortable and easy to take care of. You don’t have to spend any money on dry cleaning.
HM: Where do you turn for inspiration?
LS: I’m inspired by Hawai‘i’s natural beauty and women’s fashion from around the world. I combine the two to develop abstract prints. For instance, the waves and ripples in ocean currents form natural curved shapes which I used as the base of a print and then exaggerated, creating a modern pattern.
HM: How often do you release new A-Line collections?
LS: Every month—each with usually around 10 to 15 styles.
HM: How do you balance work for other brands with designing and being creative for your own line?
LS: Most days, I’m doing bookkeeping, management and production. It’s difficult to pivot and be creative. I work weekends with no distractions—it’s my form of meditation and path to creativity. Sewing sparks new ideas and frees me from my day-to-day responsibilities.
HM: What’s next for A-Line?
LS: I’m experimenting with tropical prints. We’re really excited about a new knit, a modal-Tencel blend that’s durable and has a luxurious feel.