HAWAII - FASHION IN PARADISE
THE TROPICAL MOUNTAINS OF OAHU, THE STUNNING LUSH LANDSCAPES, MAGNIFICENT SEA CLIFFS, COASTAL FORESTS & SANDY BEACHES, ROGUE'S EIC HEATHER SEIDLER PLUNGES INTO ONE OF AMERICA’S MOST PARADISIAC REGIONS AND EXPLORES A LESSER KNOWN ASPECT OF HAWAII--ITS FASHION SCENE.
Hawaii has long been a mesmerizing mainstay of those looking to experience extraordinary ocean views, banyan tree-lined coasts and tranquil weather. If you’re craving soft sand and vibrant ocean water, we all know Hawaii is one of the best places for a laid back beach-centric getaway. Waterfalls, pleated volcanic mountains, jungled canyons and the red-clay soil of the pineapple plantations, Hawaii is one of a kind, particularly one of its main islands, Oahu.The clear warm waters of its North Shore provide the perfect playground for swimming, sunning and surfing. But for a different--and unique--side of the Aloha State, I explored Honolulu Fashion Week. For three days in November, the Hawai'i Convention Center morphed into the epicenter of high-fashion--from the best local Hawaiian designers to giants like Neiman Marcus.
Now in its third year, it has quickly made a mark on the fashion world, featuring collections from native Hawaiian designers alongside several international designers from Korea, Japan and Australia. Native brands showcased why Hawai’i deserves to be a center for fashion. Allison Izu, Asaf Ganot, Ten Tomorrow, Project Runway’s Kini Zamora, Reyn Spooner, Rinka, Noa Noa, and Jeffrey Yoshida were just some of the names that spotlighted their dynamic, colorful, and modern pieces down the runway.
With emphasis on local designers, Honolulu Fashion Week draws attention to island style in a diverse way. In addition to the designers taking stage on the catwalk, there were over fifty local designers showcasing their work in The Fashion Marketplace alongside sponsor booths from brands like Fujifilm and even beauty bars for when you need to freshen up. Honolulu Fashion Week turned out to be a well fused mixture of chic local and avant garde international styles, filling a previous gap for those desiring to embrace and celebrate the world of fashion on the islands.
If you’re in need of the right mix of Oahu culture, cuisine, and chill, here’s some Rogue vetted recommendations from our adventure:
- Take a tour of Doris Duke’s Shangri La estate, built in the 1930’s and filled, over the course of 50 years, with a world-class collection of art.
- Savor fresh-from-the-sea flavors of the Honolulu staple Duke’s Restaurant and then join in the locals at the lively bars like Sky Waikiki, Bevy, or Mud Hen Water-- it is afterall, one of the best cities in America to go out for a drink.
- Stay in plush hip accommodations like the contemporary art-driven Surfjack Hotel and Swim Club, perfectly situated blocks from Waikiki Bay, hailed by the NY Times are ‘Waikiki’s hippest new place to stay’, boasting Hawaii’s most Instagrammable pool.
- For the more luxury-oriented, check out the the five-star Kahala Hotel & Resort, a premium resort-y resort, with its own private dolphin lagoon, private beach, panoramic views and upscale Pacific Rim cuisine. At one point, this iconic beachfront hideaway was the most expensive hotel in the world. It's undeniably one of Hawaii's greatest hideaways.
- For a modern spin on the Hawaiin mainstay: the lei, go to Paiko Botanical Boutique to make your very own custom lei, using locally sourced fresh flowers and walk away with some serious botanical knowledge, along with your floral crown masterpiece.
- Explore Pupukea Beach Park (Shark’s Cove), don’t let the name scare you away, it’s the perfect, calm spot for diving and communing with the sea. Take a swim at sunset in the numerous caves and dive deep for a plethora of marine life to discover.
- Drive along Waimea Bay and explore the North Shore where there’s an exotic, funky mix of America meets Polynesia. In the North Shore, the currents are moving with waves of epic proportions, along with the Venice-like shops that bring in a fresh multicultural vibrancy.
- Stop by the Waimea Valley Audubon Center, a profoundly rich wonderland—with peacocks, giant lilies from the Amazon, and endangered Kokia cookei flowers.
- Experience Holokai Catamaran’s Turtle Canyon Adventure Sail, what better way to start your day, than to slip into the refreshing waters of Hawaii and swim with turtles, fish, and other marine life?
- Go for a hike at Lululmahu Falls. There’s old ruins (remnants of King Kamehameha III’s summer palace), dense bamboo forest, and 50-foot waterfall that’ll make you feel like you’ve leapt right into one of the Indiana Jones movies.
- One of the locals favorite waterfall hikes in Oahu is Ka’au Crater Hike. It leads leads you up to three breathtaking waterfalls before you navigate a fine ridge on the edge of the crater to reach expansive views in all directions.
- The Oahi Atlantis Submarine Adventure was one of the highlights of our trip. A variety of large sea turtles, sharks, yellow tangs and dolphins were just some of the marine life we saw up close. Not to mention a sunken ship, remnants of hurricane-swept airliners, pyramid structures, and the gorgeous coral reefs.
- Take a tour of the small-batch rum distillery in Kunia Camp, Kō Hana Agricole Rum, where they offer outstanding and rare varietals, one of the few rum makers in the country to provide rum from locally grown Hawaiian pure sugar cane. With their heirloom sugar cane varietals, there is no other rum like this on earth.
- Wonder the Waimanalo Coast, that was where I stumbled upon a long stretch of beach where I was just one of three people in the ocean, not a selfie stick in sight. It was the perfect secluded place to rejuvenate. For a glimpse of rural O‘ahu, drive through the small town of Waimanalo past the coast. As you get deeper into the town, you’ll see dozens of farms, ranches and nurseries that raise local vegetables, fruits and flowers.
No matter where you go in Oahu, you’re bound to encounter something wonderful. It’s not just a family and tourist-trap destination, it’s a place with proud heritage, steadfast serenity, rich natural beauty, perpetual sunshine and distinct, diverse style.
Whether you go to Oahu to see the waves of Waikiki, the waterfalls of Waimea or to seek out the island’s agricultural roots, exploring this authentic paradise never disappoints.
Photography by Aysha Banos & Heather Seidler
Written by Heather Seidler
Special thanks to the Oahu Travel Bureau