Social Encore: A new ‘Market’ opens
BY JERMEL-LYNN QUILLOPO / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Many people say that Chinatown has become the “it place” when it comes to shopping at local clothing stores. However, If you walk around the Ala Moana area, you will find it home to a number of local clothing shops including Butigroove, The Firm and Fitted Hawaii. The neighborhood will welcome one more shop, Farmers Market Hawaii, on Saturday, July 28 at 1430 Kona St.
When you think of the words “Farmers Market,” you probably think of items fresh and homegrown. Farmers Market Hawaii is made up of four guys who had a dream of forming a clothing company that truly embodies Hawaii’s culture. It all started with artist Keoni Payton, who always had a passion for art and apparel. He helped start the Defend Hawaii brand a few years ago and wanted to return to the retail scene with a new and exquisite vision.
Payton asked friends Raliegh Robertson and Sean-Paul Wilkerson to help assemble the foundation of the new business. Along with Payton, Wilkerson had previous experience forming and designing a clothing line. Both wanted to design a brand that didn’t need to conform to a certain trend or specific style and felt if they joined together their designs would be versatile like their target markets.
All three gentlemen were born and raised in Hawaii and say that their line is inspired by their surroundings. Home is where the heart is — and that is here in Hawaii.
“We are a product of our environment,” said Wilkerson. “The design ideas come from our experience through everyday life and the knowledge we know and have discovered about Hawaii.”
Payton added, “Our line is about taking fresh artwork, paintings and making it wearable for others to enjoy.”
Standing true to their name, the brand buys and prints their shirts locally. Wilkerson and Payton told me a story about how Hawaiians were able to maintain stability within the islands because they helped each other.
“We feel strongly towards supporting the local community and shopping within the islands,” said Wilkerson. “We are all about supporting local artists with dreams and goals alike us to make it and become successful. We can all help each other get to where we need to be.”
The face of their brand is a tiki, or what Hawaiians called a ki’i. The tiki represents faith, hope and miracles within Polynesian culture and mythology around the world. Believing that Akua chose them to represent this brand, they hope their symbol will encourage others to always have hope and to take the initiative to contribute to the better good of Hawaii.
The shop will celebrate their grand opening from 3 to 9 p.m. Saturday with entertainment by Jimmy Weeks Project, Kapu System and CTLGD. To kick off things off, Farmers Market Hawaii will also give away 200 “Homecoming” shirts.
For more information about their merchandise, check out www.farmersmarkethawaii.com.
Jermel-Lynn Quillopo is a multi-faceted, energetic individual with experience in both print and broadcast journalism. “Social Encore” aims to tell diverse stories about Hawaii’s food, events and people; share your tips with Jermel via email or follow her on Twitter.