Business Matters: Nake’u Awai, the Grandfather of Hawaiian Fashion
Nake’u Awai, hailed as the grandfather of Hawaiian fashion, has revolutionized the industry with his innovative designs.
As Hawaii’s first Native Hawaiian designer, Awai not only made a name for himself but also introduced the world to Hawaiian prints crafted from native flora.
Surprisingly, Awai’s journey began as a Broadway dancer, making his achievements even more remarkable.
With a career spanning over half a century, Awai has become a prominent figure in the local fashion scene.
His timeless pieces have captivated fashion enthusiasts and locals alike.
Despite the changing trends and evolving industry, Awai has remained steadfast in his commitment to authenticity and vintage Hawaiian wear.
He refers to his creations as “legacy wear” that can withstand the test of time, often being passed down through generations within families.
Situated in the heart of Kalihi, Awai’s store has been a constant presence for 47 years.
The designer’s dedication to preserving the essence of Hawaiian culture is evident in every garment he designs.
Notably, Awai takes pride in manufacturing all his designs locally, as he believes the soul of his work might be lost if produced elsewhere.
To celebrate his remarkable 50-year journey, Awai recently unveiled his new Gold Label line, featuring floral print jeans—an original addition to his extensive portfolio.
This launch represents yet another milestone for the seasoned designer, who continues to push boundaries and explore new avenues within the fashion industry.
While Awai’s contributions to Hawaiian fashion are unparalleled, he has always been concerned about finding a successor to carry on his legacy.
Fortunately, he has found hope in his godson, Keane.
Although Keane initially lacked an interest in fashion, his keen intellect and ability to connect with local people have made him a suitable candidate to uphold Awai’s vision.
Keane shares Awai’s passion for elevating the aloha wear industry, introducing innovative construction methods to enhance the overall experience.
Together, they aim to preserve the company’s legacy and ensure its continued success.
Despite his numerous accomplishments, Awai remains driven by his unwavering desire to venture into uncharted territory.
He believes that embracing new ideas is the key to success in the ever-changing fashion world.
By fearlessly trying new things and putting them to the test, Awai has consistently pushed the boundaries of Hawaiian fashion.
As Nake’u Awai concludes his incredible journey, he leaves behind a rich legacy and a vibrant Hawaiian fashion industry.
His contributions have not only shaped the industry but have also become an integral part of the cultural fabric of Hawaii.
With his godson Keane by his side, Awai’s vision and passion for authentic Hawaiian wear are sure to live on, ensuring a bright future for the company and the aloha wear industry as a whole.
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