October 18, 2015 Melissa White

AHOLA Site Specific Fashion Project Debuts during HFM!

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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: http://www.facebook.com/AHOLAFashionProject

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

 

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About the Author

Melissa White Co-founder of HIFI and its initiatives Purveyor of multiple professions and identities

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