Wai‘alae Sportswear’s Cheeky, Urban Pieces

Made for locals, by a local.

Funny thing—it's hard to pull one over on you. That's because, if you're not on your toes in a stylish pair of new shoes, you're displaying a streetwise style that keeps you sharp and savvy. To you, fashion is never a laughing matter, and the last thing you want is an ensemble that sends someone into a fit of snickers. Right?


Waialae Sportswear


Rethink that. Kevin Serai’s not looking for LOLs with his new line of Wai‘alae Sportswear pieces so much as a few, well-placed chuckles, but we're loving the combo of urban style and the Hawai‘i-inspired sense of humor. Local-born Serai, who moved to New York for college and never left, launched his clothing brand last fall after the encouragement of his girlfriend and best friend. His designs have a sleek, contemporary feel with a tongue-in-cheek tone, sporting references to everyday local life and Serai’s little inside jokes for fellow Islanders. Don't expect postcard-perfect images of swaying palm trees and white sandy beaches—Wai‘alae Sportswear’s hip, kama‘āina creations are anything but touristy.​


Waialae Sportswear


Instead, the nods to O‘ahu are subtle and stylish. We love the pullover with “Wai‘alae Sportswear” type in streamlined sans serif over a vintage-style botanical print of an ‘ōhi‘a lehua branch. And how fun would it be for expatriats on the Mainland to rock the cheeky “Ala Wai Aquatics” tee, which ironically sports a black and white pic of synchronized swimmers? Vintage-inspired floral photos crop up again on the plumeria hoodie, while another black or white tee is printed with a bold “Auwe” on the chest and back.


Waialae Sportswear


The modest handful of pieces, which are printed in New York, is just the beginning for Serai’s budding brand, but the designer projects launching even more new gear soon.


Now that's something to crack a smile for.


$30–$60, waialaesportswear.com.


Read more stories by Natalie Schack