Waking Up with HFM!

Howard Dicus interviewed Melissa White and Toby Portner on Hawaii News Now Friday morning to talk about the business side of Hawai‘i’s fashion industry. As the co-founders of the Hawaii Fashion Incubator and co-directors of Hawaii Fashion Month, Melissa and Toby talked about the origins of HFM (DBEDT shout out!) and gave a brief rundown of the wide variety of activities coming up in October (click here for the HFM event calendar).

To watch the video, click here! Thanks for the great interview, Howard!

HiSAM Now Accepts Digital Portfolio Submissions

It is now easier for designers seeking to get into HFM’s First Friday fashion show, “The Way We Wear,” at HiSAM in October! You can submit hard copies of portfolios by mail and photos on CD, and now, digital submissions are being accepted. Don’t delay! Get in before the July 31 deadline to participate.

To apply, click here for the application, then send to Eva Laird Smith at eva.laird.smith@hawaii.edu.

Recap: Bliss Lau & Jasmine Takanikos Meet & Greet

Last week, Hawaii RED hosted a meet and greet gathering at the Coconut Hotel in Waikiki for visiting Parsons educators Bliss Lau and Jasmine Takanikos. Hawaii-born Lau has made a name for herself in New York as a jewelry designer and has received mega coverage in fashion press. She shared tips on how to connect with the outside fashion industry and succeed in an industry that at times feels isolated. Takanikos, a brand strategist with a client list that includes PF Flyers and CORE, shared tips on how to market yourself, from start-up designer to fully-functioning brand. Tyson Joines of Nonstop Honolulu, Geremy Campos of The Offsetter, Nadine Kam of the Star Advertiser, Kaylin Laeha of Panacea Designs, Summer Shiigi of Summer Style Hawaii, and designer Feliz Salas were all on hand to greet Lau and Takanikos and benefit from their wealth of knowledge. The two presented “A Masterclass in Design and Branding” to a wider audience the following night at the Kahala Hotel.

The hotel,  a colorful, contemporary aesthetic with an art deco-inspired design,  caters to fun-minded families and those seeking long-term stays. The 81-room property has an intimate pool area with a wrap-around deck, a business center, and a 24-hour fitness center, all just minutes away from Waikiki waters.

All photos by Attila Pohlmann.

Get on It! Event Deadlines are Fast Approaching

Do you want to be involved with Hawaii Fashion Month? Creative people, procrastinate no more! Press deadlines are approaching, so if you want to be involved in the inaugural, history-making, ground-breaking Hawaii Fashion Month 2013—and be included in promotional materials, press kits, and official HFM program—submit your event through the application link before August 1. Get in if you want in!

Bliss Lau and Jasmine Takanikos: A Masterclass in Design and Branding

Ever wonder how a brand becomes a brand? Jasmine Takanikos and Bliss Lau know, and will present their wisdom tonight at “A Masterclass in Design and Branding,” hosted by Hawaii RED Style at the Kahala Resort and Hotel.

“‘Jasmine taught me to not be scared to show the public my thoughts and vision, artistically and creatively in language that I use—the way I express my ideas,’ Lau said. ‘All of that was really asking myself questions and what matters to me […] which can be what types of products I’m making, how I’m making them, what materials I’m using, and how does that inform my customer. How is everything I put out on people reflective of my brand?’”

The event, which brings local talent together with international talent, will create discussion on the local paradigms of Hawai‘i’s fashion industry while thinking up ways that we might change them a little.

Read more about it in “Brand Master Class: How to Get Ahead,” by Geremy Campos.

What is Hawai‘i Fashion? with Designer Allison Izu

Allison Izu Song graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 1998 where she was awarded the Anthony Muto Critic’s award for her final designs. She returned to Hawai‘i to start her dream brand, Allison Izu, made especially for petite women.

Being only 5-foot-2-inches tall herself, Allison says she always had a hard time finding clothing that fit her petite frame. She decided to create a collection specifically using a shorter proportion. Her unique petite-fit pattern brings up the knee break to create a longer, leaner leg. Allison Izu, the brand, was launched in 2008 with a focus on the Hawai‘i market.

Although she says it was a rough start finding reputable manufacturers in Los Angeles, Allison released four collections made in California before bringing her production to Hawai‘i. Hers is now a 100 percent made-in-Hawai‘i brand.

Here, she talks with HFM about Hawai‘i fashion and how important it is to love what you wear.

“I think Hawai‘i fashion is more than just clothing; it’s more about our unique way of life and how we live in the clothing. We are all about our laid back sense of style, about our friends and family and enjoying this beautiful place where we live. Hawai‘i fashion should be about our sense of community and aloha on how we share our lives and products to the world. It’s about giving the world a piece of paradise, allowing them to feel as if they are sitting on a beach on the North Shore, enjoying a family vacation.

“After all, we are the Aloha State, and I think our sense of aloha should overflow into our fashion way of life by supporting local businesses, supporting each other, and bringing awareness to the talent and brands that Hawai‘i has to offer. We are a melting pot of people and ideas, and we are at the verge of creating something so amazing for fashion and for Hawai‘i. I am excited to be a part of it!

“The Hawai‘i Fashion Incubator is a great way to connect within the network of Hawai‘i fashion. I have met and collaborated with a lot of talented people, from fashion designers, stylists, photographers, makeup artists, to sales and marketing people, too.

“My personal philosophy towards style, fashion, and design is to stick to a simple and classic aesthetic with attention to fit, fabric, and detail. I am a fit- and quality-first type of person, which is why I started in denim. Jeans is one of those staple pieces that everyone has in their closet because it is such an easy and wearable piece. Yet, it needs to fit your body well and accentuate all of the right places. The quality of the fabric and trim need to be there, so it can be a piece that will last for years to come. I appreciate a well made garment that has something unique and special, such as a small detail, a unique seam, or a special closure or trim. You have to love what you wear and feel amazing in it, even if it is a pair of jeans and a white tank top!”

Allison Izu can be purchased in a few local boutiques and at Nordstrom Hawaii, as well as online at www.allisonizu.com.

Deadline Extended for Submissions to HiSAM Fashion Show

Good news, designers! You now have a few extra weeks to submit your portfolio for consideration in Hawaii State Art Museum’s (HiSAM) “The Way We Wear” Fashion Show to the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. The show, which is organized by Morgan Childs of Moana Events, will take place on the grounds of HiSAM on First Friday in October. Participating designers will each receive an honorarium and promotion through HFM’s various media sponsors. The new deadline is July 31.

HFM in Pacific Business News

Stephanie Silverstein over at the PBN Biz Blog tells you how to get involved in the state’s first-ever Hawaii Fashion Month, and why you should do it, in this article.

“The state is contributing $157,500,” Silverstein writes, adding that “the City and County of Honolulu is adding another $10,000 to support the industry in its first-ever Hawaii Fashion Month.”

We’re looking for anyone with an interest in fashion: from artists, to photographers, models, stylists, bloggers, seamstresses, business owners, and everyone else. You can get involved by clicking here!


HFM Goes to the Capital

HI growth pic

To keep Hawaii competitive, Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui signed into law today House Bill 858, otherwise known as the HI Growth Initiative.

Hifi cofounders Melissa White and Toby Portner flanked Tsutsui as he signed the bill that will invest $6 million in programs that develop competitive high-growth industries, including fashion.

In the photo (from left): Crystal Morton and Denyse Ray of the Ease Collection, Karl Fooks of DBEDT, Shan Tsutsui, Georja Skinner of DBEDT, Toby Portner and Melissa White of Hawaii Fashion Month and Hifi, and Chris Lee of EuroCinema Hawaii.

Get Involved: Today’s Media Release Announcing Open Invitations

Press Contact:
Bree Dallwitz
Tel: + 1 (808) 333-1887
Email: bree@hawaiifashionmonth.com

Press Release: For Immediate Release: July 8, 2013
October is Hawaii Fashion Month
Calling for industry professionals and individuals with a passion for fashion to get involved

(Honolulu, Hawaii): For the first time, this October will be celebrated as Hawaii Fashion Month (HFM), a community-driven initiative of the Hawaii Fashion Incubator (Hifi) and the State of Hawaii. HFM is a month-long calendar of events to celebrate and promote all aspects of Hawaii’s fashion industry.

HFM aims to raise awareness ofHawaii as a unique, creative and competitive fashion destination while bringing sustainable growth to the industry that comprises design, manufacturing, retail, art, education and more.

The month is an extension of the year-round efforts of Hifi, an organization providing a central resource for fashion information, networking and advocacy. The Hifi COOP at Ward Warehouse is a hub for designers and artists to create, showcase and sell their collections, in addition to being a venue to host fashion classes and workshops.

Event organizers are looking for industry professionals, as well as individuals with a
passion for fashion to get involved. Opportunities include:

  • Participation as a featured designer or business in the exciting line-up of HFM Signature Events, including theKickoff Party (October 1), local design trade show (October 2-3), bridal/eveningwear fashion show at the Hawaii State Art Museum (October 4) and more.
  • Submission of a fashion-related event for the official HFM Calendar. Any event during the month of October that showcases an aspect of Hawaii fashion is eligible for consideration (design, styling, art, education, history, modeling, photography, manufacturing and more).
  • Nomination of a local fashion professional or business for the Governor’s Fashion Awards, the finale of the month-long program (October 30).
  • Sponsorship of HFM and Signature Events.
  • Volunteer opportunities throughout the month, including modeling, styling, hair, make-up, event support, fashion show production, guest relations, marketing, social media, photography and videography.October is Hawaii Fashion Month: Calling for industry professionals and individuals with a passion for fashion to get involved.

While planned events include large ticketed soirees through to free intimate gatherings, the focus remains on bringing the community together to showcase, learn, sell and connect with the Hawaii fashion industry. Non-Hawaii designers and businesses are welcome to participate by collaborating with local brands or showcasing an aspect of the local industry.

HFM Co-Chair and Hifi Co-founder Melissa White invites broad participation, stating “The more that is happening in Hawaii fashion this October, the better. We want the local and visitor community to come away wowed by the diversity and level of talent that we have here in the islands, with a renewed commitment to supporting Hawaii fashion.”

Toby Portner, Hifi Co-founder adds: “In addition to showcasing current work, HFM provides an opportunity for stakeholders to launch new projects and set goals moving forward.”

There are two levels of HFM calendar participation for those seeking to host events:

1. Fashionista: Promotion of event through the official HFM calendar, promotional opportunities through HFM and its media partners, use of HFM logo on collateral for event promotion and a one-year professional membership to Hifi.
Cost: $250

2. Making it Work: Basic event listing on the official HFM calendar, use of HFM logo for event promotion and a one-year professional membership to Hifi.
Cost: $150

To be part of the first-ever HFM visit www.hawaiifashionmonth.com/get-involved or click below for specific opportunities available.

To keep up with all the latest HFM news visit www.hawaiifashionmonth.com or follow us via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Don’t forget to #HFM2013!

About Hawaii Fashion Month (HFM): HFM is a community-driven initiative of the Hawaii Fashion Incubator (Hifi) and the State of Hawaii. The month-long celebration is an opportunity to raise the profile of Hawaii as a unique, creative and progressive fashion destination while bringing sustainable growth to the local industry comprising design, manufacturing, retail, art, education and more. Hawaii Fashion Month supports the year-round efforts of the Hawaii Fashion Incubator. Hifi provides a central resource for fashion information, networking, and advocacy. The Hifi COOP at Ward Warehouse is a hub for designers and artists to create, showcase and sell their collections, in addition to being a venue to host fashion classes and workshops. Membership to Hifi is open to those in the industry as well as those that want to support and grow Hawaii fashion. To join Hifi, visit www.hawaiifashion.org.