July 5th, 2018 / posted by paularath

A navy GORDON mini by Leah Redmond      Photo by Elisa Chang

When my son, Duncan Graham, was a student at Punahou, he had a close cadre of friends who were artists of one sort or another: film makers, writers, photographers, musicians, actors, you get the picture. In the group was Leah Redmond, a young woman with a lot of style. I always enjoyed checking out what she was wearing and how she put it all together. And I wondered if she would choose fashion as a career.

I lost touch with Leah, although I had heard she was in New York City, working as a dresser in the theater. (More about her fascinating career path in my next blog.)

Now Leah has given up the glam and glitter of Broadway and is living in Los Angeles. And, happily, she has introduced her first fashion line, called GORDON.

Photo by Elisa Chang

GORDON is clearly a nod to Leah’s small kid time in Hawaii. The line is 100 percent palaka! She has, in essence, modernized palaka for today’s woman.

Inspired by the silhouettes of the ’60s, GORDON dresses resonate with me. And, of course, remind me of my designing days when I did a line of palaka shorts, tops, dresses and muumuus.

The introductory line is all about simple, easy to wear, go-to palaka dresses. It’s minimalism personified, largely inspired by Leah’s passion for Japanese designers. (Think Yohi Yamamoto and Comme des Garcons.) There’s a common thread here, as palaka in Hawaii was originally worn largely by Japanese workers in the sugar and pineapple fields, and it was popularized by the Arakawas, a local Japanese family.


GORDON dresses are perfect for Hawaii weather.        Photo by Elisa Chang


GORDON dresses accessorize beautifully and can be worn many different ways. I ordered a GORDON mini in black and red palaka and sometimes wear it with ballet flats and a fedora with my father’s feather lei. Or with a pair of strappy sandals and an armful of chunky bracelets. Or with capri-length leggings and red lace-ups. It’s so versatile!

As a designer, I appreciate all the work and attention to detail Leah employs. Seams are bound. Plaids are matched. Pockets are palaka lined. Sleeves are engineered so that when you roll them up, they stay. She’s such a perfectionist!


Designer Leah Redmond with a rack of GORDON dresses with contrasting white yokes. Photo by Carrie Gifford


Each GORDON dress is made to order. “GORDON’s objective is to limit quantities and promote minimalism, allowing customers to invest in a few multifunctional pieces that can be worn in many different ways, rather than consume fast fashion by mass manufacturers,” Leah explains.


GORDON dresses come in navy, red, black and gray palaka, all one shade or a combination. Photo by Simone White


You are probably wondering how GORDON got its name. Leah explained that “Gordon” is British slang for “nerd” or “awkward” and “I love the symmetry of the name visually.”

Find GORDON dresses, and a way to order them, at www.shopgordon.co

-Paula Rath





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