Social Encore: Summer fun in Mō‘ili‘ili
BY JERMEL-LYNN QUILLOPO / Special to the Star-Advertiser
I can’t believe we are almost halfway through summer already! I guess what they say is true, time flies when you are having fun.
MO‘ILI‘ILI SUMMER FEST
Hosted by the Mo‘ili‘ili Hongwanji Mission
» Where: 1100 University Ave.
If you are looking for a family event full of food, shopping, culture and fun, stop by the old Varsity Theater parking lot on University Avenue for the third annual Mōʻiliʻili Summer Fest happening Saturday from 5 to 10:30 p.m.
There will be lots of live entertainment, along with one of Honolulu’s largest bon dances hosted by the Mōʻiliʻili Hongwanji Mission. Scheduled performers include Pacific Buddhist Academy Taiko, the Kinectic Flow Jugglers and Oahu Fringe. Family-friendly activities like Japanese games, face painting, balloons and a photo booth are also planned; Island 98.5 radio personality Krey-Z Oshiro will emcee.
For anyone who loves to shop, the festival will feature local designers and vendors including LMS Boutique, Island Style Collections, Indigo Elixirs, Kira Hawaii, Eden In Love, Himalayan Treasure, Sanook Hawaii, Hiilani Hawaii and About The Goods.
New fashion incubator/factory hybrid The Cut Collective will also make its debut this weekend. Located in Manoa, The Cut Collective space is dedicated to providing independent designers with resources and skills to streamline production while delivering high quality products at affordable prices. It was founded by Allison Izu Song and Summer Shiigi, two ladies with extensive experience in the fashion industry.
Song started her clothing line, Allison Izu, a little over five years ago by designing denim specifically for petite clientele (5’6″ and shorter). Stores like Nordstrom, Fighting Eel and various other local boutiques noticed her line, which has allowed her to branch out into women’s ready-to-wear, a family line called Love & Aloha and a younger, trendier, collection named Izu.
Shiigi started her career in the fashion industry as a freelance stylist, personal shopper and writer.
Both ladies said creating The Cut Collective happened by accident when discussions of a mutual need for office space eventually grew into a business plan.
“(During) last year’s Hawaii Fashion Month, Allison and I really recognized the need for shared collaborative workspace, design consulting, and especially local manufacturing outlets,” Shiigi said. “Our passion for the local fashion industry really drove us to put our plan into action and The Cut Collective was born in November 2013.”
The Cut Collective office incubates and showcases brands from Izu, Shiigi, and Rumi Murakami. Izu’s collection includes pieces such as comfortable, easy, ready-to-wear knit tops, casual shorts, and light weight chambray capris.
Ten Tomorrow by Shiigi features a wide range of fun and flirty tops, dresses, and even some trendier styles like a 1970s-inspired all-white jumpsuit.
Murakami’s collection features timeless, classic styles perfect for a stylish career woman. Rumi’s clean, tailored aesthetics can be seen through the unique fabrics and styles that she offers.
Also showcasing their lines at this weekend’s festival at The Cut Collective booth are guest designers Mari Nakamura and Jenna Sato, both recent graduates of UH-Manoa’s fashion design program.
Izu and Shiigi said they have no doubt Hawaii has a handful of talented designers working here. However, they both said there is a slight disconnect when it comes to local manufacturing, importing raw materials and knowledge for scaling a business. They hope The Cut Collective will bridge the gap between business owners and the services/goods needed for aspiring fashion designers to become a successful brand.
“We hope to show that with hard work and dedication to the business, we can create beautiful Made in Hawaii products for local brands as well as global clients,” said Shiigi.
“With the growth of our business and clientele base, we hope to show the state that textile manufacturing in Hawaii is (in) demand. Manufacturing was once a thriving source of business in the islands and hopefully with some help we can revitalize it.”
All the shopping and walking around will surely stir up an appetite. Food vendors including Beyond Burgers, Bonfire Pizza, Karai Crab, Bobalicious, Firehouse, Pauls Poppers, Aloha Pops, Cake Works, Soul Patrol, Il Gelato, Hawaiian Waffledog Co., Onda Pasta, Miso & Ale and Holoholo Bar & Grill will be on hand to help satisfy your hunger.
Kamemehameha Schools will also have a farmers market tent featuring local produce from Otsuji Farms and Mamaki Native Hawaiian Herbal Tea.
Mamaki Native Hawaiian Herbal Tea co-owner Roberta Taira has studied laau lapaau, or Hawaiian medicinal plants, since 2007 under Kaipo Kaneakua. Taira met the businesess’ other co-owner, Kekaulike Arquette, in 2009. Since both are Native Hawaiian, their upbringings were full of tradition. They are both passionate about using plants for medicine.
In 2013, Kamehameha Schools leased a portion of their land in Punaluu to Taira and Arquette, and Mamaki Native Hawaiian Herbal Tea went into full swing. The main ingredient in their tea is mamaki, well-known in Hawaiian culture to help with diabetes and high blood pressure.
Mamaki Native also offers tea blends that incorporate other herbs and plants such as wapine, a type of lemongrass plant used by Native Hawaiians as a fever/pain reliever. Wapine is said to help with circulation and fighting cancer. Kinehe, also known as Spanish needle, has been used by Native Hawaiians to lower blood sugar, stimulate the immune system and contains anti-inflammatory properties. ʻUhaloa is an old Hawaiian remedy that helps with colds, sore throats and asthma.
“ʻUhaloa … has helped people (who) have acute respiratory problems,” Arquette said. “It sells out quickly during times when the island experiences vog.”
“Medicinal teas that we make come from Hawaiian medicine practices,” said Taira. “With a lot people on medication, we want to be able to help them through a holistic approach with our herbal teas … that’s our main goal for us and hearing customer stories, it warms our hearts.”
Taira fondly remembers her grandma using the same herbs for the same practices that many Hawaiians use today.
“This is something that we are trying to perpetuate as Native Hawaiians,” she said. “This orchard in Punaluu is owned and operated by Hawaiians, a family business.
“The uses of these herbs started generations ago. For me, it started from my grandmother and we don’t want this art to be lost.”
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.