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Native Hawaiian Designer Invited to NY Fashion Week

Micah Kamohoalii describes himself as being emotional after getting his surprise invitation to New York Fashion Week.

Kamohoalii will be the first Hawaii designer to present his designs on the official New York Fashion Week Runway 7 Fashion Platform.

Fashion executives told Kamohaolii that they had him on their radar for several years. “Very overwhelming. Just being invited to something like that scale,” Kamohoalii told Hawaii News Now.

The Native Hawaiian fashion designer is a kapa or traditional Hawaiian bark cloth artist, kumu hula or master hula instructor and designer from Waimea.

Kamohoalii’s company, Dezigns by Kamohoalii, prints kapa patterns on modern day fabric.

Other Native Hawaiians who’ve taken part in New York Fashion Week include Kini Zamora and Manaola Yap.

Kamohoalii’s designs tell stories of his family, Hawaii island and the environment. “Our fashion is not just coconut bras and grass skirts, but show deep connection that our clothing is spiritual. It tells stories. It’s meaningful,” Kamohoalii told Hawaii News Now.

Dezigns by Kamohoalii will showcase Hawaiian kapa arts, collaborating with Lauhala Weavers, Feather Artisans, Hawaii Music Makers, Chanters and Hula dancers to present Native Hawaiian culture, arts and fashion. 

The event will take place at New York Fashion Week Runway 7 Fashion showcase on September 9, 2021, at Sony Hall in Time Square. However, Kamohaolii needs to raise $60,000 to cover even fees. Dezigns by Kamohoalii’s GoFundMe campaign has raised over $7,000 of the $60,000 goal so far.

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