Fashion first

POIPU — Hawaii is celebrating its second Hawaii Fashion Month throughout November, but Kauai had nothing to boast on the observance.

That led Randy Francisco, president and CEO of the Kauai Chamber of Commerce, to roll up his sleeves and pull together events such as the fashion show Wednesday at The Shops at Kukuiula.

“This is really thinking outside the box,” Francisco said. “I have never done anything like this with just minimal help from chamber members. This is not a membership meeting, so I just let the girls do everything.”

The committee included Kauai representative to the HFM Rhonda Forsberg, and Kauai liaison Sara Miura, Taryn Rodighiero, Marynel Valenzuela, Shannon Hiramoto Rude, Stacie Chiba-Miguel, Michelle Swartman, Renee Kawakami and Carol Manera Texeira, most of whom were present during the Kauai Chamber Business After Hours event that celebrated the 54th anniversary of the Kauai Museum.

It was then that hints of HFM poked through as the museum hosted a mini-fashion show, featuring items sold in the museum’s gift shop.

“It is important to the chamber that we support the statewide efforts of this very important sector of our economy,” Francisco said. “It is nearly a half-billion dollar-plus sector in Hawaii, and HFM events are very timely since it is just before the holidays and offers both designers and artisans an opportunity to draw attention to their industry.”

Wednesday’s fashion show featured more than two dozen of Kauai designers who have items at Halelea Gallery, Poipu Surf, Malie, Olivine Beach Boutique, Blue Ginger and Quiksilver.

Francisco said two more events remain on the HFM calendar — a free fashion show highlighting more Kauai designers starting at noon Nov. 22 at the Kukui Grove Center, and a final event on Nov. 25, the KaiKini Bikini Fashion Symposium starting at 4 p.m. by invitation only.

HFM is a month-long calendar of events to promote and elevate Hawaii’s fashion industry.

Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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