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Hawaiian-born designer walks the runway at New York Fashion Week

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HONOLULU (KHON2) – Designer Micah Kamohoalii received an email from the producers at New York Fashion Week.

He initially thought it was a hoax and sent it in the trash.

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Good thing he went back to check it out, though, as it turned out to be the real deal.

He is the first native Hawaiian designer to participate in the Runway 7 fashion show at Sony Hall.

Inspired by his ancestors and the culture instilled in him, Micah Kamohoalii launched his brand, “Dezigns by Kamohoalii”, to showcase the traditional designs used in the art of kapa, or bark tissue.

A 16-year-old dream in the making led him to one of the most prestigious fashion shows in the world.

“I think our people in Hawaii are so beautiful and they need to be on this trail,” Kamohoalii said.

They have full bodies and really know how to fill a dress beautifully with all of their curves and shapes. So the opportunity for me to be able to provide that to all of our people. My models are therefore 18 to 73 years old.

As a kumu hula and one kapa small practitioner paniolo Waimea town, Micah lives a life of perpetuating the past.

As a fashion designer, he is able to use his knowledge to carry on the legacy of his ancestors while striving to make Hawaiian culture as relevant as possible.

“When we showcase our clothes, we showcase our culture and our people and we wear them on our clothes with us,” Kamohoalii said.

And it’s very touching for people to see that because most of the designers in the rest of the world only show tailoring, they only show clothes. We show our connection to people, our connection to the place and proudly wear the designs that we have had in our culture for thousands of years.

From the rhythm of the pahu and the details of her designs to the stories behind them, Dezigns by Kamohoalii paraded during New York Fashion Week to show the importance of culture and pave the way for the next Hawaiian to follow in her footsteps.

I hope this creates bonds and bridges for others and for Hawaiian clothing and Hawaiians to be represented, Kamohoalii said.

And I hope it will impact everyone about the aloha we have for our homeland and our stories that are so dear to us that it will impact the rest of the world to pay attention to these things. that they have in their own cultures.

Dezigns by Kamohoalii reached the podium on track 7 and received a standing ovation.

Micah was invited to return to New York Fashion Week in 2021.

They will host a concert to end their trip on Friday, September 10 at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, featuring the music of Amy Hanaialii, winner of the N Hk Hanohano Award.

To learn more about Dezigns by Kamohoalii, Click here.

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