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Tokyo Big Sight, Japan, January 22, 2014 – ‘IOLANI, one of Hawaii’s oldest aloha shirt makers, announced at the Japan Fashion Week International Fashion Fair in Odaiba that the new ‘IOLANI Hawaiian Classics collection will be available in UNIQLO stores worldwide starting May 2014.
“‘IOLANI Hawaiian Classics,” part of UNIQLO’s 2014 spring and summer collection, will include men’s shirts, shorts, and “UT” (UNIQLO T-shirts) and women’s tunics, dresses, shorts, bags, long skirts, UT and kids items—all inspired by ‘IOLANI’s island prints. The new line of clothing features a variety of historical and modern Hawaiian motifs contemporized for international appeal.
‘IOLANI, founded in 1953 by Keiji and Edith Kawakami, was originally known for its ‘kabe silk’ men’s shirts. Fabrics were printed in Japan and imported to Hawaii where they were cut and sewn into aloha shirts. Eventually, ‘IOLANI pulled away from the kimono prints and began using prints and motifs more reminiscent of the island lifestyle.
“This collaboration with UNIQLO brings our family business full circle. While retaining the essence of island style aloha prints and designs, the collection achieves an urbane, globally relevant look,” said Lloyd Kawakami, second generation owner along with his wife Carla. “It really showcases the style of Hawaii – with an international appeal.”
The Kawakami’s introduced the new line at the JFW International Fashion Fair, Japan’s largest fashion business trade show, held at the Tokyo Big Sight in Odaiba, Tokyo. The Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT) sponsored the Hawaii Pavilion, inviting Hawaii’s designers and fashion related manufacturers to participate, helping Hawaii’s export business.
Commenting on today’s announcement, DBEDT Director Richard Lim said, “The ‘IOLANI collaboration with UNIQLO, featuring prime selections of classic Hawaiian patterns, brings the aloha spirit from Hawaii to the world. Not only will this bring recognition to ‘IOLANI and Hawaii’s fashion industry in general, it will also reinforce our message that Hawaii is a major fashion design center.”