With the closing of so many galleries and boutiques in the past few years, artists and designers are finding it increasingly difficult to land venues to show their work.
So these creative folks are expanding their creativity to develop new venues and formats to show their work, and the work of their friends and colleagues.
Reise Kochi, who first came on our radar when a fashion student at Honolulu Community College, then kept in the forefront as an assistant to the amazing Ari South, is coming right along as a fashion entrepreneur. His latest venture is called HI Design Commune and involves 19 designers of apparel (men’s and women’s), jewelry, leather – altogether an eclectic mix of fashion and accessories.
In an interview Reise said he is “Trying to highlight good design in Hawaii.” The evening will mark the coming out of many of the designers’ summer lines.
Reise commented that “Most people buy online and that’s where (local) designers are trying to get up and ready and more available. As far as the local buyers, during the summer there isn’t a venue where people can sell their products so we wanted to create a summer fashion event.” He added that Night Market has become more of a “hang out place, not so much for buying.”
HI Design Commune is, Reise said, “more conducive for people to buy.” Reise compares the retail approach to a “Wholesale Unlimited meets fashion. It’s kind of like an industrial approach where people can write down what they want and take their order to a warehouse next door, where it will be packed for you,” he explained.
The location, Kaka’ako Agora, will be shutting down soon, so this event is a last dash to take advantage of the generous space. “It’s very retail friendly,” Reise said, adding that there will be ample changing rooms for those who want to try on.
As for Reise, he will be showing his latest work, which is mainly belts and bondage. He has put handbags aside for now and traversed into a darker mode and mood. For those who prefer a more serene approach to life, his new line also includes yoga mat straps. He does everything in his exclusive leather line from scratch: dyeing, cutting and constructing.
Hi Design Commune is a community event, free and open to the public. There will be a donation-based bar.
For the fashion show, scheduled for 7 p.m., hair and makeup will be done by Jonathan at Motives.
Upstairs at Agora, product designers from fishcake will be showing their latest work.
– Paula Rath