Updated: December 5, 2023
Fashion designer and Kumu Hula Micah Kamohoaliʻi is bringing Hawaiʻi to the stage at three European fashion week events this month.
The tour started with the London Fashion Week show on Sept. 17, 2022, featuring an immersive cultural presentation themed Hulu Ali’i – The Royal Feathers. Using traditional native arts in his modern fashion, Kamohoaliʻi presented at the UK’s Hyde Park in the center of London.
The team made an appearance amongst the hundred thousands to pay homage to the late Queen Elizabeth II. The procession included traditional malo and ahu’ula or feather capes, hand held kahili, feather Lei, and a ti-leaf lei about 750 feet long made by the contingency to honor the Queen’s casket as she passed by. They were given a special place in front of the Prince Albert Monument to offer their condolences.
With his team of 40 Hawaiian models and musicians in tow, he then traveled nearly 800 miles to Milan Italy to present at Milan Fashion Week on Sept. 24, 2022. The show at the famous Sala Barozzi was themed Hale Kua – the Kapa beating house, and featured his family’s barkcloth fabrics.
He worked with Maui Divers Jewelry to create exclusive jewelry pieces using his own patterns and designs. There, he unveiled 20 big pieces, including an all gold 7-pound Maile Lei that Kamohoaliʻi wore at the finale of his showcase while dancing to a song about Kalākaua and Kapiʻolani’s crown jewels that came from Italy.
Finally, the team visits the famed Eiffel Tower and the American Cathedral of Paris France to close out the European Fashion Tour at Paris Fashion Week. His theme for Paris, Ulana Ho’oheno – The elegance of plaited leaves, showcases Hawaiʻi’s lauhala woven fibers.
The team of 41 have all arrived in Paris and have already been spotted dancing hula the Eiffel tower and the Arc De Triomphe, according to the latest update. Kamohoaliʻi will present on Friday Sept. 30, 2022 at The American Cathedral in Paris.
The three appearances mark the first time a Hawaiian designer has been invited to present on these platforms.
His one-of-a-kind apparel, Dezigns by Kamohoalii, brings indigenous Hawaiʻi to life through traditional designs, bold colors, metaphoric imagery, and strong cultural symbolism.
In his runway shows Kamohoaliʻi brought the essence of Hawaiʻi to Europe through the three part cultural showcase featuring Hawaiian runway models (including his immediate family members), kapa pounding, chanting, and performances by award-winning vocalists Amy Hanaiali‘i, Kainani Kahaunaele, musician Jeff Peterson; and dancers from his Hālau Nā Kīpuʻupuʻu performing ancient and modern dances.
“Kamohoaliʻi’s Hawaiian lineage is at the heart of his designs, an art that encompasses Hawaiʻi’s natural environments and honors their rich legacy,” according to a pre event press release.
His passion for art led him to study graphic design, and his family’s legacy in Hawaiian kapa led him to discover his passion for fashion. Kapa, a soft bark cloth, is an artisan tradition that dates back to ancient Hawaiʻi and is now considered a rare art form. The process of creating kapa includes gathering the bark and beating it to loosen the fibers, and the end result is an incredibly soft fabric that can be dyed to create unique looks with vibrant patterns.
“Dezigns by Kamohoalii feature layers of ‘ike kuʻuna,’ or traditional Hawaiian knowledge, embedded in each design,” according to the announcement.
“Our clothes are spiritual totems, they recount our history,” said Kamohoaliʻi. “There are so many deep connections in our designs and it is who we are. We are honoring the breath of life from our ancestors by perpetuating, preserving, and retelling our stories in the designs we wear on our clothing.”
By participating in Fashion Week Europe, Kamohoaliʻi said he hoped to provide insight and education into authentic Hawaiian fashion, arts and culture.
Kamohoaliʻi also just opened his first of two new stores on the island of Oʻahu at the Pearlridge Center uptown location and at The Windward Mall, Kaneʻohe location.
To preview Dezigns By Kamohoaliʻi, visit www.dbkamohoalii.com.