A Hawaii Style Blog

Buying and Supporting Local, Now More Than Ever

I grew up with my mom and my aunt working for the fashion industry of Hawaii. In the 1990’s, the Hawaii’s fashion industry took a hit with outsourcing of many companies to foreign countries for cheaper labor. The very industry that help to put me through school and to support my upbringing is the very industry that benefits when I buy locale. I planned to post this in November but I did not get a chance to post it. Then our lives changed in a matter of days because of a virus,  so I think it is more appropriate now, more than ever. 

So why do I support local? I support locale designers and workers, because it supports Hawaii and the people that live here.  When you buy local you also say yes to ethical and better working conditions. It does not support the corporate and global fast fashion industry, who may be taking advantage of the workers at the bottom. It helps you support people like you and me, trying to make it in the global market. When you buy local, you are giving them your support and the vote of confidence, a fighting chance to exist in our world. 

I have been buying locale for more than 10 years. I prefer it if I can help it. I use to shop at a local store called Second Skin, which curated local and indie brands in a small boutique at Ward Warehouse in the early 2000’s. My conversations with the owner help me understand local brands. There are a lot of great local companies that fit every budget and style. Supporting and buying locale means you support the dreams and ideas of Hawaii’s people so our local industries thrive in Hawaii’s economy. 

As we take the time to spend more time at home in a time when it is crucial to our well being and the well being of the people we love, also support the the companies that are here locally, help them thrive so that our local economies and our people will survive this storm. If our localities were self sufficient and sustainable at one point in history, now is the time to make it that way again. To restart and reset and hope for a better tomorrow. 

Here are a few of my favorite local brands. Take a peak and look.  I have links for them below. 

 

Clothing

Rumi Murakami  

Ten Tomorrow 

Fighting Eel

Allison Izu

Ari South

Jewelry

Keani

Paradisus

Tidepool

Bevel Hawaii

Ginger13

I hope you enjoyed this post. Please let me know what you think and please support this small blog.

XOXO,

Michelle

Native Threads & Woven Arts

Ever since I came back from a trip to the Philippines, I have been wanting to find clothing brands that take traditional methods and translate them to wearable everyday clothing for the Modern Filipina. 

I have been following Ant Hill Fabric for several months now. I love the fact that they are community based and sustainable organization that support local artisans in the Philippines. I enjoy the way they utilize woven components in their pieces.

In October, I picked up a few pieces from them and I have been loving the opportunity to wear native fabric from artisans from the Philippines.

One of the pieces that I adore from their current collection is this Bughaw blouse that feature the Katarines Stripe weave from Bangeud, Abra. I like how each piece is from upcycled materials, support local weavers, it supports slow fashion as well as shares and gives value to Philippine indigenous arts. As an Filipino Academic and a fashion enthusiast, knowing that Filipino Indigenous Fashion is finding a niche in our world is amazing.

I paired the top with a pair of dark denim jeans and my Rothy’s flats and a pair of Narra wood hoop earrings. For the most part this outfit is utilizing sustainable and slow fashion brands. I will be sharing more of the pieces I bought from Ant Hill and other Filipino clothing lines in the upcoming months. Thanks again for reading.

XOXO,

Elle

.:Outfit:.
SHIRT ant hill fabric
JEANS gap
SHOES rothy’s
EARRINGS bevel hawaii hoop earring in narra (narra wood is national wood of the Philippines)

My Shoe Essentials: 9 Must Have Pairs

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1. Black Pair of Pumps

The shoe that goes with anything and everything even a pair of joggers and a simple tee. This shoe does it all except rack up mileage at the gym or run marathons. It is perfect for just about every outfit you can think off and its a must have for every girl’s closet. A perfect pair should last you years made with leather which mold to your feet. Always invest in a good pair of black pumps. They go with everything.

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2. Ballet Flats

For all the days, heels just do not cut it. It is your feet’s life saver. Ballet flats are another pair you just cannot live without.  It’s your all around, go anywhere shoe. If you get the right pair, they will walk miles with you. My personal favorites are Tieks and Rothy’s.

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3. Flat Sandals

This pair is a must when your toes need some time in the sun and ballet flats are too constricting. They are perfect compliment to a pair of shorts, a summer dress, or a skirt. I personally like gladiator sandals but there are other styles out there that might be best suited for your feet.

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4. Wedge Sandals

A little bit of height goes a long way. This pair will support you without stressing your arches. For the days when stilettoes are no fun, wedges are a great alternative. They come in dressier and more casual pairs.

5. Strappy Heels

Definitely dressy and versatile. They are a great pair for time when you want to show off your toes. I usually go with a neutral pair that you can use use for any outfit in the summer and the spring and if you are lucky even in the fall if you live in warmer weather like me.

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6. Sneakers

Whether it is walking around town, running errands or running a marathon to cross off your bucket list. This is a must for any wardrobe. They are versatile and utilitarian and great for packing in your suitcase for your travel adventures. Depending on your lifestyle, choose one that best suits you. I usually purchase running shoes or cross trainers.

7. Flip Flops

Whether its for lounging around at the pool or taking in some sun at the beach or in your backyard. Flip flops are a must have pair to slip in and slip out of. Living near beaches, I have a pair in the car. My personal favorite are from Reef’s, they are long lasting and comfortable.

8. Rain Boots

They do not just prevent the rain from tickling your toes, they can slush around in the snow if needed as long as you have thick socks.

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9. Boots

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Leather, all weather, high or low, boots are a must for fall and the winter. Depending on how much time you spend outside and the kind of weather you live in. The ones I own are purely for fashionable uses and for when I travel. I personally like Dr. Marten’s, I have a few pairs. They last long, they are stitched well and they are made of leather that olds to your legs and feet.

These are my must have pairs of shoes, what pairs made your list? Take care and thanks for reading.

XOXO,

Elle

Easy Days

Last post I said that I am celebrating where I am to keep it real with you. February has been a productive month for me. Reading and writing a lot for graduate school and taking the time to get healthy again.

In the beginning of my blog and up until my long blog hiatus, I use to put a lot of thought in the clothes that I put up on my blog. I love to dress up but in all honesty, dressing up everyday does not always work for Hawaii weather. It’s warm here and while more famous bloggers in Hawaii wear surfer clothing, wear bathing suits and summer dresses. That is simply not my style. On days when I am out and about to read, write and study, my favorite outfit is a denim bottom and a soft cotton top and a tote in hand to carry my books. In Hawaii, flip flops seem to go with everything. Jo Koy said it best that Hawaii people love to wear flip flops or slippers.

To be honest, on a daily basis being comfortable is important in our weather. Like in a previous post, we have our own perspective, it does not necessarily fit the perspective of the rest of the world but it is ours. Who ever said that Fashion has rules anyway. Fashion is what you make of it, how you create outfits with what you have and how you carry yourself. You’re style is your style, no one else’s.

What is favorite outfit? Thanks again for reading.

XOXO,

Michelle

Adding the Old with the New

The first few days of the New Year was spent catching up with friends. Finally got to try Fish Honolulu in Kakaako. I went to have lunch with an old friend visiting from graduate school.

Fried Oysters for Appetizers
Fish Tacos and a Salad for Lunch

I tried the fried oysters, fish tacos, and a salad. The food was flavourful and fresh.

I have several New Year’s Goals this year. As part of my New Year’s Goal I’m trying to wear different items from my closet this year and really work with what I have in there. Another goal, is to celebrate life regardless of where I am. I know that recently, I have not been posting because I’ve gained some weight but I’m working on being more healthy and fit. Nevertheless, until I get to my goal, I will celebrate where I am. There a lot to look forward to this year as well as accomplish.

For this lunch date with my friend, I wore an old piece from Fighting Eel and my favorite pants from Uniqlo on repeat. I paired it with a simple sandal from Isabel Marant and a JW Anderson Pierce bag, it’s been my go to piece lately.

I know we are at the end of January but I hope to share more with you this year. What goals do you have this year? Please share them with me. Take care.

XOXO,

Elle

SHIRT fighting eel
PANTS uniqlo
SHOES isabel marant “jeyka”
BAG jwandersen “pierce”

Tortola and The Virgin Gorda

Our next stop was The British Virgin Islands. We ported in Tortola. We took a 30 minute ferry to The Virgin Gorda and The Baths, where there were amazing large boulders the size of cars and two story houses. The place was amazing. When we got there it was a little overcast. We got a chance to explore the openings in the cave and got a chance to dip into the water.

The ferry ride to The Virgin Gorda was about $38 dollars per person if you book it yourself. To spend time at the baths and the beach was $3 per person.

While we were there we got a chance to check out the different beaches in the area. It was a nice day out for a while until it started to pour but it was a relaxing time at the beach. If you plan to go, go early, we did not get the opportunity to go to The Baths, the line to enjoy the area was an hour and a half long. To be honest the sites were gorgeous and it was a nice break from the ship.

Thanks again for reading.

XOXO,

Elle

.:OUTFIT:.

T SHIRT guess
SHORTS guess
SWIMWEAR gap

Driving Through Saint Thomas

Our next stop was Saint Thomas, we decided to get to shore and book a tour with the local guides there. Sometimes on cruises, it is much more cost efficient to do this just because certain shore excursions will cost more depending on the destination. We decided to do a driving tour of the small island in a taxi that reminded me of jeepneys in the Philippines. The guide took us to the scenic lookouts through the the Island and the few land marks there.

 

Overlooking Magen Bay Beach atop Top of The Mountain Look out

We passed by Blackbeard’s castle heading to the Top of the Mountain Lookout that overlooked Magen Bay Beach. You can see several nearby islands from the lookout. 

Our last stop by Magen Bay Beach which cost $5 per person to stay and enjoy the Sun. We took decided to pass on the beach and head back to the boat. The whole excursion with the guide was about 45-60 minutes because of the different lookouts that we stopped at. In all honestly, the island is extremely small and there is not of lot of things to do there.

A few tips to keep in mind on Cruises. Shore excursions are great if there is a lot of do on the island but it is also expensive if you go with those planned by the ship. It is possible to book excursions right off the boat just make sure to do a little research before hand and check on what is available at the site. I was a little surprised by the cost to stay at the beach but then again, I live in Hawaii and it is the same for some of the high traffic locations like Hanauma Bay on Oahu. But in the Caribbean, many of these islands main source of income is tourism so that most beach will have an entrance free. One of the benefits of going with the ships shore excursions is that you might not have to wait in long lines but they are a lot more expensive, sometimes 3-4 times more expensive than if you booked the excursions yourself.

Thanks again for reading. Hope you enjoy the pictures. Take care.

XOXO,

Elle

Stopping in Puerto Rico

In December, we went on a cruise with family to the Eastern Caribbean. Our first stop was Puerto Rico and we were out to see for two days before arriving. We ported in Puerto Rico in the late afternoon. We got a chance to walk around old San Juan. A lot of places were closed because of the holidays but we got a chance to do a walking tour and take in a few sights before sundown.The part of the city that we got a chance to tour was full of colorful buildings, houses, and cool Spanish Style architecture with cobblestone streets.

Convento Y Casa de Salud de las Siervas

La Fortaleza

San Juan Bautista Cathedral

Hotel Del Convento

For this trip, I packed a lot of comfortable basics that I could dress up and down depending on the day and activity. One of the most versatile pieces that I brought on this trip are these pair of joggers from Uniqlo that I picked up last year as a fun purchase. I like the fact that I can throw on a tee shirt and sneakers and go for an adventure or I can throw on a nice blouse and heels and some nice accessories for a night out on the town or date night.

I really enjoyed our short stay in Puerto Rico. I would not mind going back for an extended stay. Thanks again for reading. Let me know what you think. 

XOXO,

Elle 

T SHIRT old navy
PANTS uniqlo
SHOES adidas

The Relevance of a Pacific Fashion Perspective

It’s been 8 months since my last blog. The truth of the matter is, there is less and less time put into doing fashion related things than I use to. Life changes, fashion changes, some twists here and some turns there. I am not gonna make promises. I have been in a long and winding hiatus from one of my first love so that I can forge forward with another love of mine, my culture and academia.

I use to shop but a few years ago, I decided to purge my closet and shop less. While I am nowhere near being a minimalist or knowing how to completely be a conscious shopper, I have decided to make more conscious choices about clothes in general.

I shop seldomly at fast fashion oriented shops and I support local designers in my area partly because I grew up with a mother and aunt who use to work for the fashion industry of Hawaii. The fashion industry of Hawaii, who at some point experienced the drawbacks of production because of globalization and cheap labor abroad.

A few years ago, I found that the fashion industry here started to pick up again after blogging for a few years. While the resurgence of the industry is slow, it is happening and our fashion perspective is valuable although we live in a small place in the middle of the Pacific rim. The perfect place for the fusion of styles but also the perfect place to celebrate resort wear all year round. We do not experience the seasons like the continents to our west and east but our clothing is a reflection of our way of life. We do not need to be New York, Los Angeles, Paris, London or Tokyo to be relevant. We are relevant because we EXIST.

So in celebration of the all the local brands that I love and support. Here is my list of my favorite Hawaii clothing brands that I love shopping and wearing. Peruse them, enjoy their perspective, and know that even in the small islands of the Pacific, our fashion perspective is relevant.

Dress: Ten Tomorrow
Shoes: Swedish Hasbeens
Photo Credit: Angela Matian

Ten Tomorrow Modern Take on classics with a Twist. I love her asymmetric hemlines, pleats and tuxedo inspired details.

Alison Izu Basics amplified with unexpected details of pleats and color blocking. I love the ease and comfort of pairing these basics with a pair of jeans or a dressier skirt.

Rumi Murukami Asian inspired silhoettes, fabric texture and minimalist prints. I love how she integrates cultural perspective in her pieces.

Bevel Hawaii Found, salvaged, sustainable, and modern. I love how this woodworder and jewelry artist repurposes different woods into amazing beautiful jewelry.

M33Ms Modern, movable, and transformative. I love her take on modern design sterling silver jewelry with movable parts. I like the concept of interchangeability and structure and this designer creates jewelry that changes with your style and mood.

Fighting Eel & Ava Sky Town and country, from beach to work, from class to a picnic. These sister brands, speak to the lifestyle to people of Hawaii. I love how each piece can be worn anytime of the year at any event.

Keani Jewelry Abstract jewelry with Hawaii nature inspiration. I love how natural concepts are turned into sterling silver creations that are abstract.

Thank You for Reading. Take Care and Let me know what you think.

XOXO,

Elle

Sweaters & Interesting Details

Hawaii is experiencing a cold spell. I really love colder weather here. I get the opportunity to wear sweaters and get bundled up. I completely adore sweaters with unexpected details; bow prints, polka dots, stripes or distressed details.

I have been watching a show on Netflix called Meteor Garden. I’m completely inspired by the fashion of the characters and all the different sweaters they use. I love all the different details from hooks, to distressing, to patterns, and interesting color combinations.

I have had this sweater in my collection for a while I love its distressed and unraveled sides, the soft yarn used, and the slouchy look. I paired it with dressy jogger pants and an asymmetric shirt.

What kind of details you like on your sweaters?

Thanks again for reading.

XOXO,

Michelle

P.S. My hair was braided by Tiffany from TBraids808Hawaii. Thank you for making my hair for amazing.

SWEATER forever21 (old)
T SHIRT all saints
PANTS uniqlo
SANDALS isabel marant “jeyka”
HAIR tbraids808hawaii

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