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How Fashion Happens in Hawaii

Going behind the scenes to follow local clothes from inspiration to the store rack

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Fashion Month

The state is celebrating Hawaii Fashion Month in October. It’s a community-driven initiative of the Hawaii Fashion Incubator and the state government.

“We want the local and visitor community to come away wowed by the diversity and level of talent that we have here in the Islands, with a renewed commitment to supporting Hawaii fashion,” says Melissa White, co-founder of the incubator (

To learn about events during the month, go to or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest at #HFM2013.

“In addition to showcasing current work, HFM provides an opportunity for stakeholders to launch new projects and set goals moving forward,” said Toby Portner, co-founder of the incubator.



Fashion Dollars

The local fashion industry includes many sectors, including design, manufacturing, retail, art and more. The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism estimates that in 2012 the local fashion industry:

  • Generated sales of $756 million;
  • Employed 3,630 people; and
  • Paid $20.4 million in taxes.



State Support

The state government is supporting the local fashion industry in several ways:

  • DBEDT provided $50,000 and the City and County of Honolulu another $10,000 for a two-day international trade show to showcase Hawaii fashion. It was held Oct. 2 and 3 in the space below the TJ Maxx in Kakaako.
  • The Legislature provided a $100,000 grant to Hawaii Fashion Incubator in May. 
  • DBEDT’s Creative Industries Division put up $7,500 for seminars on the business of fashion in Hawaii.

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Hawaii Business,October