HAWAII. NEXT. ‘A STUDY’ IN HAWAII FASHION
FASHION DESIGNER HENRY NAVARRO TALKS ABOUT HAWAII FASHION PARADOXES + DEBUTS HAWAIIAN-INSPIRED, CO-CREATED COLLECTION
STUDY HALL | NOV. 4 IN THE STUDY | 6 P.M. WELCOME, 6:30 P.M. LECTURE
Fashion designer and university professor Henry Navarro thrives creatively when mired in the world of paradoxes. The Cuban-born, Toronto-residing fashion educator has built a reputation for peeling back the psychological aspects of why we wear the fashion we do. His very passion for the unexpected intrigued us, especially since Honolulu’s own paradoxes inspire our own hotel brand.
For that reason, we’re pleased to welcome Navarro as our host of THE MODERN HONOLULU’s Nov. 4 Study Hall lecture series. During this free panel discussion, which starts at 6:30 p.m. in The Study, hotel guests and event attendees will learn about the psychology behind the custom fashion collection Navarro spearheaded in partnership with Hawaii Fashion Incubator for November’s Hawaii Fashion Month.
Navarro collaborated with a team of Honolulu-based models and Hawaiian-inspired designers this past summer to create a collection — Ahola — that pushes the boundaries of cultural sociology and modern fashion. (Welcome “Hawaii. Next.”) A special runway show caps off this Study Hall event. Toby Portner and Melissa White, the founders of Hawaii Fashion Incubator, will assist with the event, as well as others with the collaboration.
“As a citizen of the world, I analyze all aspects of fashion apart from the craft,” says Navarro in our exclusive interview for MODERN LIVE. “What are the archetypical, social and visual expressions of fashion within a culture? Usually, it’s not just one thing. It’s all about analyzing, discussing, thinking and talking about what’s important to the person wearing that garment, and I found Honolulu to be a fascinating study.”
In fact, Navarro recalls the instant he was struck with his first inspiration for the collaboration. During his six-week stint (from May to July) on the islands, he saw something that set the tone for the group collection.
“I saw this open jeep with a surfboard strapped on top. The driver was wearing a full suit and tie, and it blew my mind. This juxtaposition of a serious life — work, a job — and then this playful existence represented the ideal balance in life,” Navarro remembers. “So we looked at that and then peeled back the layers a little bit more.”
Meeting with the design team — and the models who were volunteers and equally participatory in the process — the group decided that there was a distinct separation between beachwear and everyday work or casual street clothing. So they aimed to make a line that would be as much at ease on the beach as it would in the office.
The Hawaii Fashion Incubator group ranged from an accountant, who has lived in Hawaii for more than 20 years, to a costume designer from New Mexico, who recently moved to Hawaii, as well as a Hawaii born-and-raised fashion student, who relocated to California for school. They spent six summer weeks working "in a fishbowl" at HiFi, honing their designs and the concepts behind them.
The conceptual fashion collection they eventually completed will be debuted during Navarro’s Study Hall session on Nov. 4 and then showcased during Hawaii Fashion Month. Following the runway show, Simple Souls will treat guests to live music.