November 22nd, 2012 / posted by paularath

Governor Neil Abercrombie in his Rix shirt, encouraged everyone to buy locally made gifts for the holidays. Photo by Jerry Mayfield

At a news conference today Governor Neil Abercrombie gave a real shot in the arm to Hawaii’s fashion industry. An avid and long time supporter of local designers and manufacturers, he officially announced that 2013 will be Hawaii Fashion Month. “We’re determined to bring Hawaii fashion to the world,” he said. He reminisced about his early days in the Legislature when “We (Hawaii) had a real presence in the fashion world and we  want to reinvigorate that.” In concert with Hifi (Hawaii Fashion Incubator) and DBED, the State plans a full court press to get Hawaii designers and manufacturers into the forefront of worldwide fashion.

The main thrust of his address today, however, was the State’s Buy Hawaii Give Aloha initiative. “Think about buying Hawaii and giving aloha” throughout this holiday season and beyond, the Governor said. He shared the podium with spokespersons from the Made in Hawaii Festival, Hifi, the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts, U.S. Small Business Administration and the Hawaii Food Industry Association.

Leighton Lam, multi-talented artist and designer, works with copper to create these pieces of art. I was lusting after his shirt, which he also created. He is trying to source blank shirts so he can begin a wearable art collection in earnest.

It looked me as though the Governor actually teared up a bit when talking about the old days of music in the Alakea Grill with the likes of Aunty Genoa Keawe, The Surfers and Sunday Manoa.

There was a great showing of locally made items throughout the Governor’s offices: food, music, books, home decor, art, jewelry and of course lots of fashion.

Jewelry by Cora Yee, Salty Girl and Paradisus, among others, was shown to great advantage.

Some of the offerings at the Hifi Pop Up table. Love the chic shoes by Jeff Berman!

Everything from tea towels to koa jewelry boxes had its place.

Melissa White of Hifi shows a potential customer some of the offerings of Hifi members.

Okay. So here’s how I see it. Frr the past 17 years, I have been devoted to shouting out the message of “Buy Made in Hawaii” every holiday season. As a feature writer with The Honolulu Advertiser, I did a gift wrap-up on Black Friday that featured dozens of Made in Hawaii items, all under $25 (and, in later years, $35). As a blogger I featured a Made in Hawaii gift item each day. Since the State has now made Buy Hawaii Give Aloha a focus, I can retire from my gift stories in the hope other media will jump on the bandwagon.

– Paula Rath

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Stephen R. Hopkins
November 24th, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Aloha Paula, love to read your articles. Excellent campaign start for our fashion month and the entire industry

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