By Jessica Goto
From the best fashion bikini photo shoots on the beaches to the chic modern styles in the Malls and Boutiques; Hawaii is a great place to launch a new product, line, service, or flagship store. Some people think of Mu’umu’u’s as fashion here in Hawaii. A Mu’umu’u is a traditional Hawaiian dress that was seen in the old Elvis movies filmed here. It’s a long vertical dress that covers you from your neck down to your toes. Or they would imagine resort wear in the islands. Not your typical resort wear, more like the matching aloha wear that is an absolute must for most tourists to purchase while visiting. However, we are placed in the middle of the Pacific Ocean where east meets west. And, there’s a melting pot of diversity in our islands that contribute to the different arts, styles, fashion trends, and consumer demand. So not only do we wear Mu’umu’u’s to our traditional Luau’s (Hawaiian feast), but we can dress it up high fashion as well, like the rest of the world.
Local designers not only design resort wear, they also have an eye for chic fashion designing as well. And, some are very successful at it. In fact a friend of mine just accepted a job as the Merchandise Representative for a new resort line being designed here and manufactured in Bali. There’s also fashion awareness and networking groups for young artist in the industry.
In the past two years, there has been a recent boom of little boutique shops popping up in downtown Honolulu. I have friends that are owners to a couple of these unique boutiques. Some are vintage, however most are very cutting edge trendy with the classic chic styles as well. These shops are doing very well in the downtown area and make it fun to find one-of-a- kind pieces.
The islands also make a perfect place for retail markets to open their flagship stores. Ala Moana, has a high success rate for retailers that are surviving the economic changes. Demands here may be higher due to the amount of visitors we get as well. So weather you are looking into a fashion career, designing, or mass marketing, fashion here in Hawaii is alive and well.