This September, New York took a ride on the deep waves of a Hawaiian paradise. Oxford Fashion Studio hosted what is one of the most prestigious events in the fashion industry, allowing top notch designers to gather from all corners of this world and debut their breathtaking designs. This year, one designer and his faithful team flew across the country to share a cultural experience that you can only find off the warm oceans of Honolulu.
Carrington Manaola Yap is a native Hawaiian fashion designer from the town of Kohala, Hawaii. He has created a luxury Hawaiian lifestyle brand named MANAOLA. His name and franchise has a major following, thus creating waves across the fashion world. Yap’s inspirations translate to his cultural upbringing as a lifelong hula practitioner. During this year’s New York Fashion Week, his inspirations truly made their mark as MANAOLA demanded the attention of all who witnessed this unforgettable event. The dedicated MANAOLA team flew out together, bringing their loved ones and models to add that special little touch of home. Each model was showered in gold prior to the show, accenting their most beautiful qualities and bringing out the patterns of each garment. Black lips and muted eyes that allowed the designs to speak for themselves. Every design has a distinct flow, truth and personality; a nod to a powerful symmetry which Manaola refers to as “sacred geometry.” Each garment printed with Hawaiian textile dyes tells a story that allows the audience to feel the art and practice of ohe kāpala which has dated back more than a thousand years.
The show began with a traditional Hawaiian performance from one of the key members of the MANAOLA team. Each performer draped in the fabrics of their ancestors silenced a room filled with curious minds. A drum beat sounded off the walls of the runway, thus allowing this empty canvas to become painted by these artists of the Island. One solo dancer set the mood for the audience. They together shared a very personal testament to their cultural heritage, explaining how they create their garments and how it relates to their deep rooted legacy. The drum rhythms of Hawaii filled the air as the models took center stage. Chic Hawaiian statement dresses with mesmerizing prints along with men in patterned shorts and gold entwined vests together speak of old traditions and of stories of a vast culture. Hawaii holds a spiritual beauty, these prints embody repetitious patterns in nature which is seen consistently throughout Yap’s unique designs. Oxford Fashion Studio has created such an influential platform for all designers across the world, one in which the MANAOLA team has taken in stride. Leaving New York City in awe, longing for what is to come, and forever appreciating the beautiful gems of a Hawaiian lifestyle.