Plantation Vacation... The words that first came to me a few years back when someone mockingly asked me describe my personal style. Over time these two words, Plantation and Vacation have influenced me in more ways than one.
A Brief History...
The Hawaiian plantations of the 1800s were the result of the growing sugar industry and the increasing need for laborers in the islands. People from around the world looking for opportunity flocked to the islands to work the sugar cane fields and processing plants.
This influx of immigration was the primary force leading to the diverse cultural climate that exists in Hawaii today.
At the time many aspects of the Hawaiian economy including banking, warehousing, shipping and importing were controlled by a small group of corporations comprised primarily of former missionary families. These corporations were commonly referred to as the “The Big Five.” The rise of the sugar industry put more power into their hands which they eventually leveraged to overthrow the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893.
As the sugar industry began to decline in Hawaii, land owners shifted their focus from agriculture to tourism. The Moana Hotel, erected in 1901 was the first hotel built in Waikiki and signaled the change that would solidify Hawaii as one of the world's most sought after vacation destinations.
Since then Hawaii has become primarily dependent on tourism.
The plantation and vacation eras of Hawaii were brought into existence based upon how those in control wanted to utilize our natural resources. These land uses err on the side of exploitation and this sad reality is largely responsible for creating what Hawaii is today.
At face value this duality helps influence the overall aesthetic of every collection we create. Using inspiration from the past we design tailored garments that balance utility and leisure. The Fall/Holiday16 collection consists of long-sleeved shirting, short sleeved Aloha shirts, jacquard blazers, lightweight parkas, mandarin collared over shirts, organic crew neck sweatshirts, tailored chinos and functional camp shorts. Our goal was to offer a collection that is equally appropriate for a professional work setting or a holiday away.
However, beyond clothing the physical our primary ambition is to relish in the irony of this dichotomy to share the plantation/vacation design philosophy.
Respect your ancestors and those who came before you. Cherish the present in a way that ignores the short term allure of exploiting resources for temporal gain. And always be reminded that your vacation spot probably used to be someone's home.
- Kahana Kalama, Co-Founder & Creative Director - Aloha Beach Club