March 2nd, 2011 / posted by paularath

Florencia Arias' Zoe dress


Florencia Arias spring/summer 2011 Trunk Show

March 5, 3 to 6 p.m.

The Butik

Florencia Arias, a Honolulu fashion designer, has her hands full with a three-year-old daughter, Sienna, a nine-month old son, Lucas, and a fashion business that is just beginning to take off.

“I do what I can, managing motherhood and designing” Arias, a native of Argentina, explained. “When my dadughter goes to school and baby sleeps in the morning I use that time. My husband (architect Todd Nordstrom) is very supportive and he takes care of the kids during the weekends. I do what I can. It’s growing slowly because I can’t give it 100 percent. I love it so I try to keep it alive.”

The Ella dress by Florencia Arias

Arias’ self-named line consists of dresses that combine modern shapes and simple styles with little details that help make them unique. She employs contemporary graphic prints in au courant colors, using Modal fabric she sources in Los Angeles for its soft, feminine drape and breatheability in our Island climate. The dresses have a tropical feel but they by no means scream Hawaii. The vibe is feminine and flirty but not too revealing.

Although she would eventually like to expand to Mainland markets, all of Arias’ clothing is styled for summer. “I’m trying to get into the rhythm of the season and maybe after I catch up with that I will,” she said with a sigh.

Arias has known since her teen years that she wanted to be a fashion designer. Her mother bought her a sewing machine when she was 14 and she started making clothes for herself and her friends. She studied fashion design in Buenos Aires and at Saddleback College in Calfiornia.

At one time Arias thought she would like to open a boutique of her own in Hawaii so during her first pregnancy she interned in a boutique to get a sense of what it involved, especially the business side of fashion which “They don’t teach you in school,” she said.

The Lara dress by Flroencia Arias

 The state of the local economy discouraged her from opening a boutique, however. “I waited for the right time. I knew when I moved back (to Hawaii) it was time to do it. The first thing I did was take some consignment pieces to Soleil,” a boutique that has, sadly, since closed. “They almost sold out a few weeks later so that gave me the push,” to seriously start her own line.

At first Arias was designing, pattern making, grading and sewing all her garments, but once she picked up a few more accounts, such as Bamboo Sky and The Butik, she desperately needed help. She found a small manufacturer to do her sewing and now she has seven boutiques selling her line (see list below), in addition to her online store,

The Jane dress

While she has an eye on the Mainland, the Mainland will have to wait, at least until her keiki are a little more grown up.

Where to find Florencia Arias: The Butik, San Lorenzo in Ala Moana and Waikiki, Flower Child in Kailua, The Look in Kailua-Kona, Diva’s in Hilo, Drift in Kaimuki, T & C in Kahala Mall. Dress prices are $88 – $90 but she has some fun dresses on sale right now online.

– Paula Rath

The Zoe dress in the season's hottest color, white

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March 2nd, 2011 at 6:50 am

Hello PaulaIt is very exciting to see new designers working their way to success. I love her designs, colors and patterns she uses. Very “now” and trendy. I predict that her star will shine bright!

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