Sponsored by Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement and Pop-Up Makeke
Kumu Micah’s roots in fashion started with his father who taught him kapa at a young age. He took the styles and Ohe Kapala prints and incorporated them into modern day clothes and formed Dezigns by Kamohoali’i. They’ve always been a Merrie Monarch vendor which has helped grow the brand from year to year. “That’s one of our biggest events. We just kind of kept on rolling from there, and kept on getting good, positive feedback,” says Kumu Micah.
While Dezigns by Kamohoali’i was growing popularity in Hawaii, it caught the eye of the countries fashion capital. Kumu Micah received an email from New York Fashion Week asking to have a conversation but disregarded the email as spam and threw it away. Luckily, he decided to check the email again, and found that it was official. A few months later, Dezigns by Kamohoali’i was headed to the east coast for New York Fashion Week.
Kumu Micah realized that his was an opportunity to represent Hawaii fashion and more importantly, Hawaiian culture. New York Fashion Week wanted Kumu Micah on the runway, so he performed on stage with local chanters, dancers, and singers from Hawaii!
“I’ve never wanted to be the best designer in the world. I just wanted to keep my family traditions alive,” says Kumu Micah. There’s so much history and stories on the clothing he makes that Kumu Micah says they become spiritual, something that he believes is missing from the fashion world. The important connection between clothing and culture is what Kumu Micah displayed at New York Fashion Week this year. “Our clothes is not coconut bras and grass skirts. It parallels their fashion, if not supersedes their fashion cause there’s so much deep connection to our clothing.”
For more information: www.dbkamohoalii.com