February 28th, 2012 / posted by paularath

Hifi Coop's floor is a decoupage of fashion magazine pages and covers. Look for Toby and Melissa in U magazine, a magazine I created when at The Honolulu Advertiser.

Saturday, March 3, marks the long-awaited official opening day for Hifi’s (Hawaii Fashion Incubator’s) new permanent space, The Hifi Coop.

Located on the second floor of Ward Warehouse, above  Town & Country, the 1,500 square foot space will showcase the work of local designers, provide a space for connection and collaboration and host a wide variety of events, workshops and classes for fashion professionals and enthusiasts of all ages.

The creative space was designed by a team including Collaborative Design Workshop, Unleash Studio and Retail Therapy. It features a boutique with merchandise from local designers, a photo studio, meeting/lounge area, work stations with sewing equipment, wi-fi, audio visual equipment for presentations, and more. Major sponsors for Hifi Coop include PaulaRath.com, Goodwill Industries of Hawaii and Formlessness Design.

Hifi members will be allowed to use the space for meetings, workshops, events, retail sales and work space, while the general public can drop in to shop local designers, participate in all-ages classes, attend fashion events and work on their own projects. Hifi views the space as a “hub for all things Hawaii fashion” and a place for the community to connect, collaborate and collectively move Hawaii fashion forward.

I will be spending an hour a week in Hifi Coop to offer my volunteer services as a mentor, a listener,  a person to bounce ideas off of or a shoulder to cry on. Watch this blog for exact dates and times.

Meg by Design employs vintage linens and fabrics to create fresh contemporary designs.

Here are details of the grand opening:

Saturday, March 3

10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Hifi member designers will be on hand for the opening of the design boutique. You will have a chance to meet the creators of Meg by Design, Salty Girl Jewelry, Organik, Katrina Langford, Umee, Maui Thing, Down Dog Productions, Arkotec, Addy Ollie and Aaron Lee.

Just for the opening weekend, Hifi Coop will host a trunk show featuring Cosmic Bobbins, a line of sustainable upcycled handbags from Ohio.

To emphasize the hands-on aspect of the space, local artists and designers will facilitate DIY activities. Keiki and adults alike can drop in to dye colorful tissue paper patterns with artist Maya Portner or transform one of their own T-shirts into something unique. Sewing machines and craft stations will remain set up throughout the weekend and can be used in exchange for a donation to Hifi.

The Hifi Coop even offers adorable clothing for keiki.

Collaborations are what Hifi is all about and the opening weekend will highlight a new collaboration with DesignU, a fashion competition held at Bar 35 the third Friday of each month. Live models will showcase winning looks from the February 17 DesignU competition. DesignU artists will create and display painted mannequins in The Hifi Coop throughout the weekend. DesignU models will wear looks from Hifi Coop designers and model them at the Hifi Coop and throughout Ward Warehouse.

This weekends represents the culmination of more than six years of research, thought, preparation and elbow grease on the part of Hifi founders Toby Portner and Melissa May White. Please join them in the celebration!

– Paula Rath

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