HIFI Connects: A Panel Event With Local And International Fashion Pros

The Hawaii Fashion Incubator (HIFI) will host HIFI Connects: The Business of Fashion, Coffee + Dialogue, featuring a panel discussion comprised of internationally recognized fashion industry professionals on Sunday, Nov. 9 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Hawaii Convention Center Exhibition Hall during HONOLULU Fashion Week.

The Hawaii Fashion Incubator (HIFI) will host HIFI Connects: The Business of Fashion, Coffee + Dialogue, featuring a panel discussion comprised of internationally recognized fashion industry professionals on Sunday, Nov. 9 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Hawaii Convention Center Exhibition Hall during HONOLULU Fashion Week. The event will also feature a panel of prominent Hawaii fashion professionals and the presentation of the 2014 Governor’s Fashion Awards by Governor Neil Abercrombie.

“HIFI Connects will present different perspectives on the business of fashion from within and outside of Hawaii,” said HIFI co-founder Toby Portner. “To move forward as an industry, we need dialogue about where we are, where we’re aiming to go, and what it’s going to take to get there.”

The HFX Mentor panel consists of accomplished professionals with connections to Hawaii, helping to paint a bigger picture of the global fashion industry. The Hawaii panel features local leaders who support the growth of the industry here on the ground.

HIFI Connects is open to fashion professionals and enthusiasts alike. Drawing upon many combined years of expertise, panelists will share insights into the current status of the local industry and discuss the future of Hawaii fashion, what is possible, and how to make it profitable and thriving.

International panelists include:

  • Lynne O’Neill: A fashion show producer with more than 30 years of experience producing New York Fashion Week runway shows for such designers as Tommy Hilfiger, Herve Leger, Catherine Malandrino, Vivienne Tam, and Rebecca Minkoff.
  • Jacky Tang: Vice president of branding & retail development for popular brand Opening Ceremony, Tang specializes in brand and merchandise development.
  • Roman Young: A graduate of ‘Iolani School, Young is the Director of Talent for Wilhelmina Models in New York, and has appeared on MTV, MSNBC, E! Entertainment, CNN, and as a judge on America’s Next Top Model.
  • Bliss Lau: Designer of a successful accessories brand that is carried in boutiques worldwide, Lau is also an associate professor at Parsons The New School For Design where she teaches how to build a strong brand vision.
  • Henry Navarro: An artist specializing in fashion as public art, Navarro is a faculty member in the fashion program at Ryerson University in Toronto. He will introduce “Aloha Na‘au,” a collaborative project for summer 2015.

Featured speakers in the Hawaii industry panel include:

  • Mark Tsuda of Jams World
  • Ed D’Ascoli of Xcel
  • Joy Nagaue of Honolulu Community College
  • Georja Skinner of the Creative Industries Division of the State Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism.

At noon the space opens to the public for HONOLULU Fashion Week’s Marketplace and participants are encouraged to stay to shop, mingle, and network.

HIFI Connects is Sunday, Nov. 9 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Hawaii Convention Center Exhibition Hall during HONOLULU Fashion Week. Seating is limited. Tickets are $25, or free for Hawaii Fashion Exchange members, and can be purchased online at hificonnects2014.eventbrite.com.

Learn Fashion Illustration By One Of The Best: Louda Larrain

Renowned textile artist Louda Larrain is teaching a half-day workshop on fashion illustration in conjunction with Hifi and Hawaii Fashion Month. Louda is a mentor in the Hawaii Fashion Exchange, Hifi’s recent membership initiative.
This post originally appeared on PaulaRath.com and appears here with permission from Paula Rath.

Fashion illustration is a skill that can be just plain fun. And you don’t have to be a fashion designer to enjoy it. Just loosen up and be ready to play!

Renowned textile artist Louda Larrain is teaching a half-day workshop on fashion illustration in conjunction with Hifi and HFM (Hawaii Fashion Month). Louda is a mentor in the Hawaii Fashion Exchange (HFX), Hifi’s recent membership initiative. (Learn more about her in my blog.)

The workshop is suitable for aspiring and experienced illustrators and it’s designed to be intimate, so space is very limited.


The Fashion Illustration workshop will be held:

Sunday, November 16

Noon to 4 p.m.

Hosted by Fishcake Gallery, 307 Kamani St. in Kakaako

Cost: $70 for the general public and $35 for HFX members

Register online here.

The workshop will cover:

  • A presentation on fashion illustration history
  • A demonstration explaining illustration approaches and methods
  • Numerous drawing sessions with a live model, followed by a critique of each participant’s work
  • Exercises to communicate students’ fashion ideas through drawing


I remember when I was a fashion student at HCC and I shared my fashion illustration class assignments with my husband, Jerry, who is an orthopedic surgeon. It drove him nuts because the proportions are so wacky and, well, kind of outrageous and beyond Barbie. He would go on and on about how I just couldn’t draw that way because no one’s legs are that long, no one’s head is that small and, well…. no one’s proportions are like that.

Well, you know what? When it comes to fashion illustration, imagination reigns and reality flies out the window. We get to live in la-la land for a little while. Try it. I think you’ll have a blast.

– Paula Rath

Follow Paula Rath at paularath.com: “Hawaii fashion and fitness.”

HFM Kicks Off Fashion ForWARD At The Beautiful IBM Building

Hawaii Fashion Month (HFM) kicks off its second year with Fashion ForWARD, a celebration at the IBM Building Courtyard on Saturday, Nov. 1 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., hosted by Ward Village.

“We are extremely grateful to have Ward Village as a partner and HFM’s official shopping center sponsor,” said HFM co-founder and co-director Melissa White. “HFM is a community-driven effort, and Ward Village’s year round support of the Hawaii Fashion Incubator (HIFI) and its programming enables us to provide great opportunities to showcase and elevate Hawaii’s fashion industry.” FLUX Magazine is the event’s featured media sponsor.

In addition to kicking off HFM, Fashion ForWARD will also debut Ward Centers’ retail rebranding into Ward Village, as well as officially launch the Hawaii Fashion Exchange (HFX), HIFI’s new membership platform and resource directory for Hawaii fashion.

Also opening is the HFX Fashion Photography Showcase, which will display the work of local fashion photography HFX members all month long in storefront windows throughout Ward Village. Guests will be encouraged to walk the photo exhibit and enter a soon-to-be-announced Instagram contest with weekly giveaways.

Fashion ForWARD will be a great opportunity to network with HFM sponsors, VIPs, and featured HFM talent; HFX membership is your ticket to this exclusive event. Membership information and registration can be found at www.hawaiifashionexchange.com.

Cocktails are provided by Martini & Rossi Prosecco and Grey Goose Le Melon, food by Kaka‘ako Kitchen and Ono Pops, and music by KTUH’s DJ Mr. Nick.

Image of the IBM Building courtesy Ward Village.

HFX Fashion Photography Preview: Eric Rhodes

Starting Nov. 1, when you walk through Ward Village during Hawaii Fashion Month you’ll see stunning images featuring members of the Hawaii Fashion Exchange on display in store windows.

We’re installing 12 huge photographic prints in all — images made by such photographers as Dallas Nagata White, Adam Jung, and Daniela Voicescu, and featuring the work of the many local fashion professionals who make a fashion photograph possible: designers, stylists, models, makeup artists, and assistants. All month long we’ll share an image from the exhibition on this blog, along with the story behind it.

12_Joss_Look 12

Photographer: Eric Rhodes, MUSE Agenci; Makeup & Hair: Jeannette Rhodes, MUSE Agenci; Model: Jocelyn Nadine; Gown: Bernard Foong

Designer Bernard Foong wanted to spend more time shooting the gown he created for the first Hawaii Fashion Month bridal and gown campaign. This photo was taken at a friend’s private estate on Kailua beach. We did other looks within the home, at different areas on the grounds and on the beach in front of the house, all on the same day. These images remain some of the most memorable from the winter 2013 season. — Eric Rhodes, photographer

In conjunction with HFM’s kickoff on Nov. 1, a walking map of the photos, designed by FLUX Magazine, will be available at various storefronts throughout Ward Village and Ward Warehouse to guide you through each of the photos.

As the Official Shopping Center sponsor of HFM 2014, Ward Village is providing generous support for this exhibit and many other HFM 2014 events, including the Fashion ForWARD VIP Kickoff (for HFX members and invited guests only), Art + Flea Presents OUTFIT on Nov. 29, Louda Larrain’s workshop and exhibit at fishcake, and more. Check out the HFM Calendar for the full lineup.

Hang On To The Weekend With Grey Goose Dayclub

Summer continues with #GreyGooseDayclub.

Surrounded by sun, sand, and surf all year long, it’s no wonder beachwear is a staple of Hawaii fashion. Every first Sunday of the month, you can find the 2014 Grey Goose Summer Club at the MODERN’s Sunset Pool, and on Sunday, Nov. 2, from 12 to 5 p.m., they will host a special Dayclub featuring Kaimana Beachwear, MAIA Couture, and jewelry from Lane Tanner Designs as a part of Hawaii Fashion Month. It’s also a fundraiser for Miss Hawaii.

“Kaimana Beachwear has been my partner at the MODERN for the past three years. They’re a great fit for the Dayclub as the line is very chic and sexy,” said the party’s organizer, Christa Wittmier. “Many guests that come and see the swimwear love it and wind up purchasing it that day.” She adds that pieces are available to buy in the hotel’s gift shop.

While watching the runway show and lounging around the MODERN’s pool, guests can enjoy an ice-cold Grey Goose frozen lemonade, a new sangria, or The MODERN’s famously refreshing Modern Mule, made with new Grey Goose Le Melon, ginger beer, and fresh lime. Don’t think you can just have one, or want to share? The Modern Mule is available by the pitcher for $55! The MODERN will also also have their full menu available.

The MODERN is HFM’s Official Hotel Sponsor for the second year running, and this year Grey Goose Le Melon debuts as the Month’s official spirit. The MODERN offers exclusive discount room rates to members of the Hawaii Fashion Exchange and will serve as the chic hub for HFM’s VIP guests.  Grey Goose Le Melon will be featured at fashion events throughout November during HFM as well. “These brands are perfectly aligned with Hawaii Fashion Month, which seeks to elevate Hawaii as a fashion center and destination,” says HFM Co-Chair Melissa May White.

At the Dayclub, Addiction Nightclub resident DJs Compose and Anit, in addition to Wittmier as SuperCW, will set the vibe with music ranging from tropical house, chillwave, and nu-disco to old school hip-hop and the top hits. They’re joined by special guests Partius Monsterious and Taylor from OMIA.

Grey Goose Dayclub is Sunday, Nov. 2, from 12 to 5 p.m. at the MODERN Honolulu, 1775 Ala Moana Blvd, 21+. Cost of entry is only $10, but get there early as capacity is limited. For VIP daybed reservations, email daybedreservations@themodernhonolulu.com.

A Preview Of ‘Aloha Na‘au’ With Henry Navarro, HFX Mentor

Navarro will bring his place-based philosophy to Hawaii as a mentor in the Hawaii Fashion Exchange (or HFX), first as a guest speaker at HIFI Connects during Hawaii Fashion Month in November, 2014, and returning in the summer of 2015 to work with HIFI and the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Fashion Design and Merchandising program.

Henry Navarro is inspired by conflict — the relationship between humanity and nature, ideas and reality, individuals and groups.

“My art functions as sort of experimental space where I try to flesh out the nature and meaning of phenomena and situations,” he says. It’s a struggle that, fortunately for us, blends the abstract with the beautiful. And while the divergence is expressed in every media Navarro employs — through painting, sculpting, or filming — fashion is where he says he gets immediate satisfaction.

“People who normally would not be interested in art, let alone contemporary artwork, feel a lot more at ease with my fashion-based projects,” he says. Navarro’s fashion-based public art pieces are interactive projects that help to develop relationships between those who participate and the community, a gratifying collaboration he continues to foster as an instructor.

Currently a faculty member of Communication, Arts, and Design at Ryerson University in Toronto, the Cuba native has installed site-specific public art shows around the world. A 2012 show, called “Mis-Measured Structures” and held at Bromwell’s Gallery in Cincinnati, featured large-scale paintings alongside fashion-based installations that were inspired by Cincinnati. He says being at Ryerson gives him opportunities to explore and engage students in the kind of practice-based teaching and interdisciplinary research he is interested in.

Navarro will bring his place-based philosophy to Hawaii as a mentor in the Hawaii Fashion Exchange (or HFX), first as a guest speaker at HIFI Connects during Hawaii Fashion Month in November, 2014, and returning in the summer of 2015 to work with HIFI and the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Fashion Design and Merchandising program.

Navarro’s classes and workshops will provide local designers with tools and strategies to create and promote their designs and product. In a nod to his passion for conflict, Navarro says Hawaii fashion defies the stereotypes that the rest of the world has created and that is what fascinates him. “The fact that such a small place is so culturally complex, diverse, and full of paradoxes makes it very attractive to me,” he says.

During November’s Hawaii Fashion Month, Navarro will announce his next public art project, “Aloha Na‘au” — a fashion collection designed, produced, and promoted locally, made out of local materials, using local inspirations, and featuring young local talent as co-creators. He has previously produced similar projects called “Grey Cincinnati,” “Femme Universalis,” and “SituOzuOne.”

As Navarro describes it, “Aloha Na‘au” will hopefully encourage youth of Polynesian background who live in Hawaii to provide input as fashion designers, models, makeup artists, photographers, graphic designers, and even music producers, and make them aware of their value to their communities. He hopes they will collaborate in every aspect of the creative process “while having a space to creatively reflect on their Polynesian heritage and their contribution to the social and cultural fabric of contemporary Hawaii.”

“Aloha Na‘au” will conclude with a public fashion show in the summer of 2015.


Kini Zamora & Dinko Satta Will Debut A New Line For KINIandDINKO During HFM

What’s next for “Project Runway” contestant Kini Zamora? The answer will be revealed on the runway during Hawaii Fashion Month when he and business partner Dean “Dinko” Satta debut the new spring/summer 2015 collection of their eponymous line, KINIandDINKO.

Presented by Hawaii Fashion Incubator, Zamora’s show will happen on Friday, Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the Hawaii Convention Center Exhibition Hall as part of HONOLULU Fashion Week.

“Dinko and I are extremely excited to be part of Hawaii Fashion Month, and this is the perfect time and place to showcase our new line,” said Zamora. “Hawaii has given us so much inspiration in our designs and I’m especially grateful for the aloha and support during ‘Project Runway’.”

Zamora and Satta gained much of their inspiration for the collection from their recent experiences visiting New York City. The derivative of the architectural life left the designers in awe.

“Through the shadows of endless buildings and high rises, there seemed to always be a light shining through, which is symbolic of the surge of business, publicity, ‘Project Runway,’ and aloha, all mixed into one. A challenge and a blessing, a darkness and a light,” added Zamora. “THIS is fashion, this is KINIandDINKO.”

Zamora’s show will happen on Friday, Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the Hawaii Convention Center Exhibition Hall as part of HONOLULU Fashion Week.

HFX Mentor Profile: Louda Larrain, Textile Artist

As part of Hawaii Fashion Month, Louda Larrain will host a workshop on fashion illustration that will tie in to her exhibition of haute couture swatches that she hand-stitched for Christian Lacroix, Emanuel Ungaro and Thierry Mugler, and others, in the '80s and early '90s.

Featured Image: Louda presents her collection at the Russian Heritage Festival at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. NYC. June 17th 2009 © Martin Roe

If ever there is a painter of fibers, it’s Louda Larrain. The internationally accomplished designer, a daughter of communist Russia, started painting at the age of 5 at the encouragement of her parents. “It didn’t cost anything,” she says, “but everything is serous. You don’t go to express yourself. It was like, ‘You! Go and draw a cube for a year!'”


Louda enrolled in fashion design in college, but says she didn’t have much interest in it because the culture at the time viewed fashion design as less than intellectual. “I thought I would just get a diploma and then paint, or whatever.” Soon, she realized that fabric had a visceral quality that painting did not. “It’s very sensual,” she says. “Textile is tactile. You like to touch it, get your fingers in. It’s not the same materials you would use when painting. You put out all the wools and threads and all the senses are activated. As soon as I put it in fabric, it’s an emotional experience.”


chanel-14 10312374_10152109471313333_1160309738116924564_n 10268409_10152109471623333_3946367437277966704_n


Illustrations by Louda for a recent show at Carnegie Hall, courtesy of the artist.

As part of Hawaii Fashion Month, Louda will host a workshop on fashion illustration that will tie in to her exhibition of haute couture swatches that she hand-stitched for Christian Lacroix, Chanel, Emanuel Ungaro, and Thierry Mugler, among others, during her tenure in France from 1996-2005.

In 1996, Louda left Russia for France with nothing more than 200 francs in the bank, and by happenstance found herself at an accessories fair in Paris, where someone complimented her outfit. “He stopped me to ask what is it that I was wearing,” she recalls. “I wore a jacket made from one of my fabrics, so I said that I made it.”

That person was François Lesage, the French embroidery designer and heir to Maison Lesage, an embroidery atelier that collaborated with such fashion clients as Givenchy, Christian Lacroix, Balenciaga, and Dior. The next day, Louda got a phone call. “I have news for you,” Lesage told her. “Someone went crazy about your fabric. It’s Karl Lagerfeld!”

“It’s so big that you get post-traumatic stress,” Louda remembers. The early support from Lesage and enthusiasm from Lagerfeld, the creative director and head designer at Chanel, convinced Louda that she had a future in textile design. Her pieces have since been featured at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus, a somewhat disillusioning experience. “You just keep repeating what sells,” she told the New York Times. “Today I’m much better off making much less, designing just one piece at a time, but a really loved piece.”

Now, at 52, Louda and her husband, esteemed photographer Gilles Larrain, live and continue to make art on Kauai. “Being in Hawaii, I’ve never thought as clearly, never had as many good and valid ideas as I had before. It’s much more relaxed, personal, and friendly here.”

She says she is excited to participate as a mentor in the Hawaii Fashion Exchange’s mentorship program, as well as the upcoming Hawaii Fashion Month. “What Melissa White and Toby Portner have in mind is a really great idea, because assisting with Paris’ and New York’s Fashion Weeks, you still love fashion you want to see what is exciting. Hawaii Fashion Month can be like a cherry on all the fashion weeks.”

To register for Louda’s HFX mentor workshop, click here. Below is a preview of Louda’s textiles.

LoudaLarrainTextile3 LoudaLarrainTextile4 LoudaLarrainTextile6 LoudaLarrainTextile5 LoudaLarrainTextile2 LoudaLarrainTextile1



Today, we’re opening our newest member of the HIFI family up to the public. It’s called the Hawaii Fashion Exchange (HFX) and we’re so excited to share it with you.

“HFX is HIFI’s new online membership platform. It is an incredible resource both for local fashion professionals as well as the public to network, connect with HFM opportunities, gain exposure, and work with globally recognized fashion moguls from around the world,” says HFX Managing Director, Casea Collins-Wright.

HFX will support our events during HFM, and the exchange is active year-round.

Joining the exchange grants you access to opportunities for paid work and exposure during HFM, a members-only forum where you can post job needs and opportunities in a centralized location, a publicly-viewable work portfolio, perks from HFM partners and sponsors, and mentor workshops with such incredible and inspirational professionals as Lynne O’Neill, Mark Arbeit, and Louda Larrain.

While still in a beta test, the HFX platform is ready for all to join. Let us know how it feels, if you see any bugs, and how it can better support you. HFX is, first and foremost, for the community. Send any feedback to casea@hawaiifashionexchange.com.

Click here for membership information and pricing.

— www.hawaiifashionexchange.com —

HFX Photography Exhibit: Call For Photos

To celebrate the talent of local fashion photographers (as well as the launch of the Hawaii Fashion Exchange), Ward Centers and HIFI well exhibit photographs in windows throughout Ward Warehouse.

This is where you come in. We need photographs to exhibit! Please click here to submit your photos to be seen in this unique show. Submission deadline is 5 p.m. on Oct. 12.