Meet Malia Jones at HIFI Connects on November 6!

Featured image source: HONOLULU Shops, June 2015

Malia Jones will be part of an all-star fashion panel at HIFI Connects: The Business of HI Fashion at the Honolulu Design Center on November 6, 2015. Tickets are available here.

Malia Jones made a name for herself as an athlete and a model at an early age, because of her love and aptitude for surfing. She traveled the globe to model for magazines, commercials and print ads. She has influenced the lines of other designers, and has collaborated widely. Now that she’s settled back home in Honolulu it’s no surprise that she’s coming out with her own line, inspired by her extensive travels and personal taste for relaxed luxury & classic simplicity.

Taking an idea through production and onto the sales floor is no easy thing. especially for a mom of two young boys. Malia reached out to old friends, who now work in the industry in LA, to help her through the process. They’re coming together to tell the story in hopes of inspiring others to do the same.

See more of Malia’s story courtesy of Nadine Kam’s Fashion Tribe, here.

See a few of her suits, here.


HFM Kicks off Poolside at THE MODERN HONOLULU on 11/1

Credit: Travis Okimoto

Credit: Travis Okimoto

Hawaii Fashion Month 2015 Kicks Off in style with a special edition of THE MODERN HONOLULU’s Grey Goose Day Club!

Join us Sunday, November 1 from 12-6pm for a poolside party featuring special edition Grey Goose cocktails, tunes by DJ Godiva, magazines from our event media partner Pacific Edge Magazine, and a fashion show of locally designed swim and resort wear from Issa de Mar, Matt Bruening, Alola and other top Hawaii designers.

Fashion show is at 2pm. Tickets are $10 at the door, and the event is 21 and over. Daybeds can be reserved by contacting The first 50 people to arrive and mention Hawaii Fashion Month will receive a drink ticket for an HFM Grey Goose cocktail!

Mahalo to our Kickoff Sponsors:

THE MODERN HONOLULU is HFM’s official hotel partner and a hub for fashion events and VIP gatherings throughout the month.

Hawaiian Airlines is HIFI and HFM’s official Airline Sponsor, enabling HIFI to build bridges to the international fashion community year round.


HIFI CONNECTS: The Business of HI Fashion Returns on November 6! Tickets on Sale Now

HIFI Connect E-Flyer V4 final

HIFI Connects is back for year 2! The 2015 panel will tell the story of a Hawaii-born fashion brand, Malia Jones Swim, and how it is taking flight with the assistance of two prominent LA-based fashion professionals with roots in Hawaii. The discussion will illuminate the process of taking a brand from concept, through to production and eventually, onto the sales floor. We’ll explore lessons learned and resources that are transferable to other designers.

Panelists include:

  • Malia Jones, Malia Jones Swim: A Hawaii born designer, model, and professional surfer who has launched an eponymous swim and resort wear line.
  • Robert Ikeda, Circle Group Inc. and Cameron Hawaii: An LA based consultant and designer that works with companies to brand, develop and produce their lines, and whose family has deep roots in the Hawaii garment industry.
  • Kay Sides, Hatch Inc.: The Hawaii-born owner of one of LA and New York’s most prestigious showrooms, Hatch Inc., which represents brands including James Perse, Superfine, and Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent.

“HIFI Connects creates a venue for discussions about the business of Hawaii fashion and what it takes to get a fashion line off the ground,” said HIFI co-founder Melissa White. “Hosting this event during November’s Hawaii Fashion Month draws attention to the critical parts of the industry infrastructure that is needed for designers to grow and succeed year round”.

HIFI Co-Founder Toby Portner added, “Bringing fashion luminaries from beyond Hawaii and providing fashion professionals & enthusiasts access to them builds bridges between Hawaii and the international fashion community. Our partnerships with Hawaiian Airlines, HONOLULU Magazine, and THE MODERN HONOLULU have enabled us to continue this tradition for a second year.”

Panelists are Mentors of the Hawaii Fashion Exchange (HFX), HIFI’s membership platform that provides resources, professional development, and community building to the fashion industry.

Tickets are $25, free for Hawaii Fashion Exchange (HFX) members, and can be purchased online at Seating is limited.

AHOLA Site Specific Fashion Project Debuts during HFM!

ahola logo

media pic

HFX Mentor Henry Navarro returns during Hawaii Fashion Month to showcase the results of Hawaii’s first fashion-as-public-art project at a special Hawaii Fashion Month edition of THE MODERN HONOLULU’s Study Hall Lecture Series on November 4th, 2015 at 6:00 pm.

The event is free and open to the public. It will include a presentation on the process that took place during the summer of 2015, and a showcase of the resulting collection, called AHOLA (“Aloha” spelled backwards). AHOLA is a community driven collection inspired by Hawaii’s history, nature, culture, and diverse population. Inherent in the creation of the collection is a discussion of the issues shaping Hawaii’s present and future. Pacific Edge Magazine is the media partner for the event and will showcase AHOLA in its Fall 2015 issue. 

“Through the six weeks I was in Honolulu, I worked with a diverse group, from concept to execution. We came together one evening to discuss current life in Hawaii, shared our individual perspectives, and then went on to design and create garments reflecting the dialogue. The group members contributed to every aspect of the collection. We discussed everything from colonial legacies to what and who is considered ‘local’ now”, says project coordinator Henry Navarro, a professor from Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Prof. Navarro has completed similar projects in Spain, Italy, Ohio, Canada, and Cuba, bringing people together to express somewhat difficult or uncomfortable topics.

The outfits were designed on-site by a group of Hawaii-based creators, and will be worn by a multi-ethnic group of ‘real-people models’ from various Honolulu neighborhoods. Each piece interprets elements of Hawaiian culture into contemporary looks. Through the lens of fashion, the designers collaborated and explored questions of locality and authenticity in Hawaii.

The project was supported by HIFI (Hawaii Fashion Incubator) & Native Books/Na Mea Hawaii. AHOLA received funding from the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiative and from Ryerson University in Toronto, where Navarro is an Assistant Professor in the School of Fashion.

“I’ve known of Henry’s work for some time and always admired his desire to address community-related issues through the medium of fashion and dress. I have felt that one of his projects would work well for Hawaii. I am glad that he accepted the offer to come to Honolulu to share his experience and knowledge,” says Andy Reilly, Professor of Fashion Design and Merchandising at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Reilly saw Navarro’s work in Toronto and was inspired to bring Navarro to Honolulu for a local edition. For AHOLA, Prof. Navarro worked with a group of volunteer design assistants and models who represent different ethnic and cultural experiences found in contemporary Hawaii. Their ideas and skills shaped every step of the creative process including conceptualizing the collection, selecting materials and sewing the garments. Several group members will also model their designs and produce the showcase.

“The premise of a fashion-as-public-art project is to select a location and, in a short period of time, design, develop and produce a collection intimately related to the place,” said Prof. Navarro. “Participative public artworks like AHOLA are only possible because of the interest and direct contribution from the local community.”

Follow AHOLA at:

Event Details: Wednesday, November 4th, 6:00 PM at THE MODERN HONOLULU’s The Study (1775 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96815).


HFM 2015 Volunteer Meet-up and Model Casting – October 19!

Model Meg Akim backstage at the KINIandDINKO fashion show during HFM 2014 | photo by Lyle Amine

Hawaii Fashion Incubator hosts its annual Volunteer Meet-up and Model Casting on Monday, October 19, 6-9 pm at the Kakaako Conference Room in Ward Warehouse (2nd floor above Nohea Gallery).

HIFI’s volunteer program is an exciting opportunity for students, aspiring and emerging fashion professionals to gain experience and work with established fashion professionals through events during Hawaii Fashion Month and throughout the year. Each year during Hawaii Fashion Month, hundreds of volunteers and models are featured in events statewide, and approximately 4,000 volunteer hours are logged in support of Hawaii’s largest community-driven fashion initiative.  Many volunteers have gone on to bigger opportunities each year, in some cases hosting their own Hawaii Fashion Month events.

At the Volunteer Meet-up, sign-ups will be collected for Hawaii Fashion Month events and other volunteer opportunities year round. Volunteer opportunities include:

  • Backstage assistance at runway shows
  • Promotions and social media
  • Greeters and ambassadors
  • Event set-up and production
  • Hair and makeup
  • Styling
  • Photography and video
  • Modeling
  • and more!

An all-ages Model Casting Call will be held concurrently with the Volunteer Meet-up. Casting directors for HFM events will be in attendance.  Agency and independent models are welcome, and requirements vary by producer. Opportunities include volunteer, trade, and paid work. Models will be required to sign a release form and minors must have a parent or legal guardian present to participate.

Volunteers are strongly encouraged to register in advance at and complete their release forms online.

Questions may be directed to

Featured image: Model Meg Akim backstage at the KINIandDINKO fashion show during HFM 2014 | photo by Lyle Amine

Whats On in November: Major HFM Sponsor Events

Models in Randy Leano gowns, Styled by JS Jose Santamaria Enterprises, Hair and Makeup by Motives Fashion ForWARD HFM 2014 Kickoff at the IBM Building, Ward Village. Credit: Travis Okimoto

Models in Randy Leano gowns | Styled by JS Jose Santamaria Enterprises |Hair and Makeup by Motives | Fashion ForWARD HFM 2014 Kickoff at the IBM Building, Ward Village | Credit: Travis Okimoto

HFM is nearly here, and the calendar is already filling up with events from our major sponsors!  Highlights are below, and details on each can be found on the HFM calendar at

November is a time for the industry to PROMOTE, ELEVATE, CELEBRATE, and CREATE to show Hawaii and the world what Hawaii fashion is made of.

There are still plenty of opportunities to participate, whether its hosting an event, showcasing at one of our partner events, volunteering, or simply coming out to support!  We look forward to seeing you in November.


November 1 –HFM Kickoff: Grey Goose Day Club at THE MODERN HONOLULU

November 4 – Study Hall @ THE MODERN HONOLULU featuring AHOLA: A Site Specific Fashion Project with HFX Mentor Henry Navarro

November 5 –Pacific Edge Magazine Fall Issue Launch at T Galleria

November 6 – HIFI Connects: The Business of HI Fashion at the Honolulu Design Center, featuring a panel of HFX Mentors from Hawaii and beyond

November 10 – Royal Designer Walk at Royal Hawaiian Center

November 12-14 – Ala Moana Center ‘Ewa Wing Opening

November 27-28 – Black Friday / & Small Business Saturday at Ward VillageNovember 20-22 – HONOLULU Fashion Week at the Hawai‘i Convention Center

Additional events are currently being planned. For the full details and calendar, visit

HFM 2015: Your Guide to Getting Involved

Indie Visualist ICONICA Fashion Show at Honolulu Museum of Art during HFM 2014 | Photo by Travis Okimoto

Hawaii Fashion Month is community-driven, and we rely on your participation!

See below for ways to get in on the action, and visit to sign up.

Host an Event/

  • Qualifying events are those in November that showcase an aspect of Hawaii fashion (design, manufacturing, photography, styling, art, film, etc).
  • Deadline to Submit: October 25
  • Event listing packages and benefits are posted online.


  • Register online with your interest
  • Attend the Volunteer Meet-up and Casting Call on October 19, 6:00 PM at Ward Warehouse Kakaako Conference Room



  • Join the Hawaii Fashion Exchange (HFX) to be part of the official HFM talent pool.
  • Consult with HIFI founders to identify your goals and needs
  • Connect with an HFM event to showcase your work
  • Receive member benefits year round, listed at

Tickets now on sale for Pacific Edge magazine’s A Toast to 2015!

Tickets now on sale for Pacific Edge magazine’s A Toast to 2015! 

HFX Members receive $10 off tickets! Find the code on the HFX Opportunities Page at (must be logged in as a member). 

Pacific Edge magazine’s “A Toast to 2015!” networking & launch event moves business fashion forward with a showcase of designs from HFX members modeled LIVE
This official Hawai’i Fashion Month event will also recognize 11 local leaders in hospitality, 
staffing-industry veteran Judy Bishop of Bishop & Company, 
and the five Young Professionals featured in the Oct/Nov/Dec issue of Pacific Edge: 
Aly Ishikuni of Art + Flea
Josh Feldman of resort-wear giant Tori Richard
Katie Ka’anapu of Ward Village 
Nicole Kealoha of Diverse Art Center
Monica Salter of Bennet Group Strategic Communications
Receive a $10 gift certificate to T Galleria upon check-in + the chance to win one of five $100 gift certificates!

Hawaii Fashion Month Returns in November!!

From left: First Lady Dawn Ige, Desirea Aguinaldo Helsham of HFM Kauai, HIFI Co-Founder Toby Portner, Sara Miura and Taryn Rodighiero of HFM Kauai, HIFI Co-Founder Melissa White

From left: First Lady Dawn Ige, Desirea Aguinaldo Helsham of HFM Kauai, HIFI Co-Founder Toby Portner, Sara Miura and Taryn Rodighiero of HFM Kauai, HIFI Co-Founder Melissa White

The Hawaii Fashion Incubator held a press conference at THE MODERN HONOLULU on October 2 announcing the third annual Hawaii Fashion Month (HFM) in November 2015.  HFM is a calendar of events to highlight fashion talent across the state and strengthen the infrastructure to grow the industry. Events throughout the month showcase designers, photographers, models, stylists and other industry professionals. Events include fashion shows, exhibits, shopping events, panel discussions, networking events, and designer launches.

More than 60 attendees from the media and fashion industry attended, including the First Lady of Hawaii, Dawn Ige, and several special guests from the fashion industry in Los Angeles.

From left: Stylist Therese Wahl, Toby Portner, Kat Malecha and Paul Brown of Paul Brown Salons, Kini Zamora, Melissa White

From left: Stylist Therese Wahl, Toby Portner, Kat Malecha and Paul Brown of Paul Brown Salons, Kini Zamora, Melissa White

Major sponsors took the podium to share their planned events during Hawaii Fashion Month, including Lisa DeCambra of THE MODERN HONOLULU, Nani Hanus of Royal Hawaiian Center, Robyn Tucker of Ala Moana Center, and Naomi Hazelton Giambrone of Pacific Edge Magazine.

Nani Hanus of Royal Hawaiian Center announces their annual fashion show to be held November 10

Nani Hanus of Royal Hawaiian Center announces their annual fashion show to be held November 10

First launched in October 2013, Hawaii Fashion Month (HFM) aims to raise awareness of the state as a unique, creative, and competitive destination and to bring sustainable growth to an industry that encompasses design, manufacturing, retail, art, education, and more. HFM is an initiative of the Hawaii Fashion Incubator (HIFI).

“As HFM enters its third year, we are thrilled to see partners continuing to establish and elevate their events,” said Melissa May White, HIFI co-founder. “In order for Hawaii to become a fashion destination, we need the community to continue to show their best work during November and to add to the excitement for residents and visitors alike.”

HIFI co-founder Toby Portner says, “HIFI’s role as an industry-wide incubator is to build up the infrastructure that allows the industry to grow year round and enables people in the community to get what they need so that each November, Hawaii has a stronger showing of talent and an ever more thriving fashion community.”

Hawaii Fashion Month 2015 sponsors include: Hawaiian Airlines, HONOLULU Magazine, THE MODERN HONOLULU, Royal Hawaiian Center, Ward Village, Pacific Edge Magazine, Ala Moana Center, and AT Marketing. Hawai‘i Fashion Month also has a chapter on Kaua‘i that will produce several events.

Find out more about events and how to get involved at

Photos throughout by Lyle Amine.