New York Fashion Week (NYFW) –  It’s the fashion event of the year where supermodels, fashion designers, and the highest authoritarians of the fashion world gather together to launch the season’s first week of Spring/Summer fashion collections. For Manaola and his team, showing the newly revealed Kōlani collection at NYFW marked the beginning of a new era– not only for the label, but for all designers, artisans, and other individuals currently working in the Hawaii fashion industry.


Let’s have a recap countdown of the show:


Thirty-nine looks.

Twenty-four women’s couture looks.

Nineteen models from Hawaii.

Fifteen men’s couture looks.

Three exclusive new prints.

Two crowd-pleasing dramatic trains.

One new finale dress.


[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”6″ gal_title=”Kōlani – NYFW 2018″]


You may watch the entire show below:



(Video courtesy of Hawaii News Now’s Facebook LIVE Stream.)


Style Spotlight: Hilo Jumpsuit

Debuted in November at Honolulu Fashion Week 2016, the Womens Hilo Jumpsuit is a flirtatious play on its namesake, Hilo, which means “to twist.” 

Made of soft crinkle rayon, the Hilo Jumpsuit offers incredible versatility as its gauzy fabric skims torso to flatter every figure. The extra-long straps can be twisted and tied in a variety of chic styles to accentuate the neckline (complete with complimentary bandeau) and allow for easy movement with a wide leg fit. Known for elegant Hawaiian formalwear, MANAOLA’s Hilo Jumpsuit is a signature staple in any culture conscious closet. 

San Francisco Chronicle: Hawaiian Culture Inspires Manaola Yap Couture

San Francisco Chronicle: Hawaiian Culture Inspires Manaola Yap Couture
by Leilani Marie Labong

Rare is the gift of waxing poetic about your work, at least to the extent that Hawaiian designer Manaola Yap can carry on.

But Yap’s rhapsodies seem to be a reflection less of his ego than his reverence for Hawaii and its native art forms. As a lifelong student of hula (his mother is a well-known Hawaiian-song chanteuse and kumu, or teacher of hula) and daily paddler (canoeing has been a Hawaiian tradition since A.D. 200), Yap has been gathering inspiration for his clothing line, Manaola Hawaii, for as long as he can remember.

Known for his “sacred geometry,” Yap interprets the landscape and flora of the islands with strong tribal motifs that he emblazons on effortless silhouettes with hand-carved bamboo stamps.



“We adorn our bodies with clothes that will enhance and protect our spirit,” says Yap, who learned how to create kapa — Hawaiian textiles made from pounded tree bark — from artisans in his family.

From performers with Hawaii in their blood to those with Hawaii in their heart, the Bay Area hosts a rainbow of artistry. Here are some reasons to visit.

The Nanaka print, for instance, is derived from the bumpy hull of ulu, or breadfruit, a staple of the Hawaiian diet that represents growth and abundance. Look for this print on the new Hilo dress, transformable into a few different looks, depending on where you tie the knot.

The Niho Kū pattern, a repeating series of triangles, was inspired by the jagged lava rocks on the Kohala coast of Hawaii Island, from where Yap hails (though these days he makes his home on Oahu). It can be seen on everything from restaurant napkins and spa linens at the new Four Seasons Ko Olina, where Yap is a cultural ambassador, to leather stiletto heels.

“The first of their kind in Hawaiian fashion history,” says Yap, whose fall-winter 2016 collection — featuring women’s rayon bomber jackets, men’s jogger pants, and even western-style shirts in an autumnal palette that ranges from mustard to potter’s clay — can be found exclusively at Hula Lehua in Ala Moana Center.

“I’m always trying to push the envelope.”

Style Spotlight: Hilo Shirt

Debuted in 2016 as one of MANAOLA’s signature collared shirt styles, the Hilo design is a modern take on the iconic “aloha shirt.” The Hilo was named for the native technique of fiber twisting of which ‘aho (traditional Hawaiian cordage) was made. These lashings represent strength and were a foundation of Hawaiian structures, used to lash wooden hulls of the wa’a (canoe) as well as housing pillars.


As Hilo means “to twist,” MANAOLA honors this technique by twisting the fabric of our slim-fit collared shirt to create an organic texture similar to kapa (native bark cloth). The contemporary cut of this lightweight cotton fabric and Hilo technique accentuate the form of the wearer and create a statuesque silhouette in both short and long sleeve styles.

Fashion Five with Manaola Yap

Get to know more about designer Manaola Yap with our Friday Fashion Five:

When do you feel most creatively productive?
When I am carving (ohe kapala). Although in my process of design its my first step in art preparation, but it is the most calming and exciting part for me because its such a traditional craft that helps me transcend time for a second. 

If you had more hours in the day how would you use them?
I would probably exercise more because health is really important to me. 

What is your favorite thing to eat when you are home in Hawaii?
Canned salmon and poi is what my grandma ate, what my mom ate, its so simple and makes me feel at home. Any kind of fish and poi or dried fish (usually aku) reminds me of home. 

How do you pass the time on long airplane rides?
Watch movies and listen to music. 

What kind of music do you listen to to unwind?
It depends on what I am doing, it changes a lot. I like reggae music, Beyonce, Maisey Rika and classical music, too.