Designer Manaola Yap shares the profound mana‘o behind one of his most popular womens styles, the Hihimanu Top.
“The hihimanu design was inspired its namesake, which translates to stingray. The reason why I was so blown away by these creates is because of how elegant they are in the water,” he explains.
“In Hawaiian, when you say hihimanu, its another reference to a woman who is really beautiful, or carries herself really elegantly.” He shares the special place that sparked the design: “Kokoiki, Kohala, is known for hihimanu that actually leap out of the water, as a sign–an omen or ho‘ailona to us. When you see the hihimanu jump out of the water, it’s a blessing of the ancestors. There are a lot of stories in Kokoiki where families used to swim with them and feed them.”
Yap not only wanted to represent the hihimanu in an elegant shape that would flatter the figure of the wearer, but also used his design skills to literally showcase the elegance of the sea creature: “If you were to open your arm span wearing the top, it is cut in the shape of a hihimanu.”