This Na Lau Ulu Aloha Shirt features our ʻAwalani print on Blue fabric with Storm and Pewter ink.
“He ʻawa lani wale nō”
From my earliest memories, our Lā Kuahu ʻawa ceremony caught my relatively short attention span. The silence, the throbbing knees turning to numb feet, the procession of servers, the kanoa and finally to receive the ‘apu filled with bitter ʻawa. Observing my uncles and aunties facilitating the ceremony, offering to the kuahu and to the higher rank kumu and kupuna in attendance first, then the servers making their way thru our hālau. It was fascinating and such a different world than elementary school.
Although Iʻve been surrounded by ceremony and protocol for majority of my life, the ʻawa ceremony is a special one since it was one of the first my cousins and I got to partake in. Over the years, we make it from server to properly balance the ʻapu and ʻawa above our head while duck walking, to the kūlia chanter that starts the protocol then to the kānoa responsible for facilitating the ceremony.
As a creative working day to day to direct my team of designers, the memory of my uncles facilitating a ceremony for 50 or more dancers with out speaking a word is still the epitome of preparedness, clarity and intent.
This past July we had our Hālauaola hula conference and my cousins and I were tasked with running the ʻawa ceremony. With over 450 participants from all islands, mainland and internationally this ceremony was looking to be one of the largest in recent history. The combined effort of Ulu, Kauila and our mini-army of servers continued this practice that was passed on to us and hopefully sparked the fascination with another generation of practitioners.
This print ʻAwalani was created to celebrate that ceremony and the hands that made it a success.
Six years ago I met Mr. Shiraishi from OJI Fibre, discussing the use of paper yarn to create an eco-friendly aloha shirt. The fibers of the Abaca are lightweight, porous, and contain a rich amount of oxygen. Fast growing, the plant has a high carbon dioxide absorption potential, is non-toxic when incinerated, and biodegradable. It is really a dream plant for clothing! The natural fibers grow well in Ecuador and the Philippines and are then shipped to Japan to produce the wonderful blend of Abaca 46%/Cotton 54%.
Through studies over the past years, OJI Fibre is now producing an environmentally friendly fabric called OJO+ that is mild to the skin, soft to the touch, and will cool the body when temperatures rise. The fibers are water resistant to both fresh and salt water, but the fabric is machine washable and dries quickly. This wonder fabric is woven, printed, cut and sewn in Japan.
Each stitch is sewn with pride and integrity. Every garment is inspected multiple times, wrapped individually, and shipped to Hilo. We introduce this collection as a positive step towards changing the manufacturing process of our clothes.
We invite you to partake and join us in this years journey of mālama ka honua! -Sig
Studio Model wearing size S.