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Native Hawaiian Designers to be Featured in London Arts Festival


Three Native Hawaiian fashion designers will have their designs featured in REDValentino’s store during a London arts festival next month, Hawai’i Public Radio reports. The move comes after REDValentino was criticized for using a Native Hawaiian designer’s quilt pattern in one of their lines.

The designs will be placed in the store during the Chelsea in Bloom festival, London’s premier floral art festival. It is part of a collaboration between the Valentino brand and the Native Hawaiian community, KHON2 reports.

Designers Kēhaulani Nielson of Kahulaleʻa, Manaola Yap of MANAOLA  and Kini Zamora have each created a textile pattern that will be used in a new REDValentino collection.

REDValentino was previously criticized for using Allen Akina’s quilt pattern on several of their clothing items. The brand said they did not realize the pattern belonged to Akina, Hawai’i Public Radio reports. They say they received the design from a New York graphic artist who stole the pattern.

The brand pulled the clothing times, and they are no longer for sale. They contacted the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to apologize to the Hawaiian community and discuss further action. Ultimately, they agreed to showcase work from Native Hawaiian designers.

Vicky Holt Takamine, the Executive Director of the Paʻi Foundation, participated in the discussions.

“They were like, ‘Oh my god. We had just appropriated an Indigenous people’s intellectual property rights. We did something wrong,'” Holt told Hawai’i Public Radio. “They apologized, and they pulled everything back, and tried to work with the Hawaiian community to find a way to make amends.”

Valentino has expressed their joy at working with Native Hawaiian designers.

“It has been a real extraordinary voyage towards appreciation and knowledge,” Alessia Vannetti, chief brand officer of Valentino, told KHON2.

The designers hope it will increase the visibility of Native Hawaiians in the fashion industry.

“The opportunity to showcase our work at the Chelsea in Bloom Festival raises the profiles of Native Hawaiian designers as well as the growing fashion industry in Hawaiʻi. Hopefully, this will open more doors for us internationally and inspire other young kānaka to chase their dreams,” Zamora told KHON2.

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