Dezigns by Kamohoali’i provides immense opportunity for local models

Sponsored by Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement and Pop-Up Makeke

Marea O’Connor says she’s excited for the surreal opportunity to participate in New York Fashion Week. “It’s such a blessing being part of this group that’s one of the first Hawaiian designers to show on such a large platform and stage. I’m so thankful he chose me to be a part of it,” says Marea. She’s looking forward to seeing other designers, but more excited to represent Hawaii and showcase Hawaiian culture in a beautiful way.

Ka’enaaloha Watson started modeling a year ago and says she’s mind blown at the opportunity to participate in one of the largest stages in fashion at such a young age. To Ka’enaaloha, Kumu Micah is the embodiment of aloha aina which is clearly shown through his clothing designs. “it’s super important to show the world we’re still trying to perpetuate our culture,” she says.

Joshua Tavares was in New York when he received the call from Kumu Micah to walk in New York Fashion Week as one of his models. Without hesitation, Joshua said yes and started preparing for the event. “I feel like they don’t know what we’re coming with. There’s so much intention and there’s so much aloha and thought behind it,” says Joshua.

Leiali’i Makekau-Whittaker is excited and humbled to be a part of the Kamohoali’i collective and represent Hawaii in New York. “We have all of our kapala prints in our cloths and I’m so excited to be able to show the Hawaiian culture to the world because Hawaiian culture is so beautiful and we have so many hidden meanings in our clothes,” says Leiali’i.

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