Native Hawaiian designer MANAOLA at New York Fashion Week

After just two years on the local fashion circuit, MANAOLA is pleased to announce it will debut an exclusive runway collection on the global fashion stage of New York Fashion Week 2017. Designer Manaola Yap is the first Native Hawaiian designer to present authentic Hawaiian culture at New York Fashion Week. Celebrated among Hawai‘i’s next generation of designers, Yap is lending a new voice as a storyteller, cultural practitioner and luxury fashion designer. 

Manaola by Adam Jung Photography


“I am honored and grateful to have been invited to show my collection at New York Fashion Week,” said Manaola Yap, designer and founder of MANAOLA. “Sharing our indigenous culture through the medium of fashion on a world platform has always been a dream of mine. I’m proud to share our Hawaiian fashion culture that encompasses centuries of intellect and visual imagery captured in design.”
At age 30, Yap has transformed the traditional method of kapa adornment into high fashion designs worthy of Hawaiian monarchs. Deviating from the vibrant floral prints often associated with Hawai‘i, his geometric patterns are redefining Hawaiian fashion for a global audience with his luxury line, MANAOLA. Trendsetters spotted wearing MANAOLA include Shailene Woodley, Colbie Caillat, Auli‘i Cravalho, and Louise Roe.

Yap is one of 24 designers selected by Oxford Fashion Studio to share his original designs at New York Fashion Week 2017. Yap will present his luxury Hawaiian label on September 8, 2017 at Studio 450 in New York City. A platform to support emerging artists, Oxford Fashion Studio highlights designers with original concepts for both national and international fashion shows around the world and from more than 8,000 designers worldwide.
As a Native Hawaiian fashion designer, Yap’s unique process showcases his experience as a hula practitioner, transforming the intrinsic beauty, energy and history of Hawai’i into visual art. Utilizing the traditional Hawaiian stamping method known as ‘ohe kapala, he hand-carves each design onto bamboo laths that embody repetitious patterns found in nature. Each print tells a deeply personal story significant to the designer which is elevated by intent. Through the lens of fashion, MANAOLA preserves these indigenous stories and ideologies through a medium that defies classification and perpetuates the rich cultural heritage and traditions of Hawai’i.
In 2016, MANAOLA left an indelible mark on Hawai‘i’s fashion history at Honolulu Fashion Week with his black and gold looks in honor of the ali’i (Hawaiian royalty) and their worldly travels. Each of his shows begin with traditional Hawaiian protocol including oli (chant) and hula as the foundation of his creativity. 

For more information about MANAOLA or to shop online, visit Follow MANAOLA on FacebookTwitter or Instagram @manaolahawaii, and the journey to New York Fashion Week 2017 at #MANAOLANYFW.

Manaola Hawaii at Honolulu Design Center by Kaveh Kardan Photography
Manaola Couture by Kaveh Kardan Photography

Author(s) on this Post

Diane Ako

Peace of mind By Diane Ako I like to reflect on life. Sometimes it’s philosophically. Sometimes it’s humorously. For all its beauty, life is far too difficult a journey to take alone. You need the support and connection with others to help carry you along the way. Writing brings me that connection– within and without. It clarifies my thoughts and feelings. It helps me reach out to others for advice, wisdom, or feedback. Your thoughts become your actions. Your actions become you. A wise yogi- Patanjali- said, “Speak what is true. Speak what is pleasant.” Let’s speak of things pleasant to one another and seek some peace of mind along the way. ABOUT Diane Ako joined Hawaii: In Real Life in October 2016. She likes being part of a community of local bloggers – people who like writing and sharing, like she does. Ako is an anchor/ reporter at Island News (KITV4 – ABC) in Honolulu. She previously anchored and reported at KHON2 (FOX) and KHNL (NBC), and at stations in California, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania. She freelance writes for NMG Network's magazines. In between news jobs, in 2017, she launched and ran her own p.r. company, Diane Ako PR. From 2010-2014, she headed the public relations department at Halekulani Corporation, which oversees luxury resort Halekulani and boutique hotel Waikiki Parc. She’s been blogging since 2009 – before Hawaii: IRL, she wrote for The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the state’s largest daily newspaper, where her stories garnered a dozen journalism awards and an Emmy nomination. Ako has a BA in Communications from Menlo College and an MA in Political Science from University of Hawaii at Manoa. She volunteers as a board member of the Honolulu Gay & Lesbian Cultural Foundation, a Shinto shrine maiden at Daijingyu Temple, a citizen-scientist studying shrimp, and a yoga teacher at a senior center.

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