Continued (page 12 of 13)
Anne Namba’s grandfather sailed to Hawaii from Japan in 1905; her grandmother came as a picture bride, and she herself was raised in Honolulu, Bangkok and Tehran. She studied fashion in New York City, cut her sartorial teeth in the garment industry there and designed for the costume department at Radio City Music Hall. Back in Honolulu, she’s woven all those threads into her distinctive East-meets-West clothing designs: tapered Mandarin jackets with carved jade buttons, Saigon floats, tie-dyed kimono fabrics. She even does Japanese wedding gowns. Are you wondering, in the back of your mind, Who is it I’ve heard of that wears Namba? Hillary Rodham Clinton, of course.
1050 Ala Moana Blvd.
226 Lewers St.
The four surfer-skater-entrepreneurial dudes who started this pair of urban-clothing boutiques did so in their own streetwise Honolulu-hipster images. The look involves equal parts West Coast hip-hop and Hawaiian-style action sports, with a good dash of Japanese anime. Look for designs by Freshjive, Fiberops, Crooks and Castles, Daggers Drawn, Methamphibian and the like, along with In4mation’s homegrown line of T-shirts, hats and hoodies. Occasionally the stockroom is graced with some limited-edition kicks, like the ones Nike put out in its unlikely alliance with Heineken (which happens to be one of Hawaii’s favorite beers). Slowly but surely, the young punk owners are beefing up the selection of women’s apparel.
550 South St.
What Stradivari was to violins, Kamaka is to ukuleles. The big difference is that you can still buy a new Kamaka. While there are lots of Kamaka dealers around, buying at the factory is much more satisfying. (You can’t take one away with you, though—you place your order and they ship it to you.) Take the free tour (10:30 a.m., Tuesday–Friday) and you’ll learn about the painstaking process involved in fashioning raw koa lumber—aged four years before it’s even touched—into these exquisite instruments. You’ll also get to test-drive each of Kamaka’s nine models, including the patented Pineapple, an oval uke with a distinctly mellower sound than the traditional figure-eight. With ukulele prices starting at around $650, the 10-percent factory-direct discount is another plus.
HULA SUPPLY CENTER AND HAWAIIAN TRADERS
2338 S. King St.
The world’s largest Polynesian dance-supply retailer has always had a curious combination of culturally correct accoutrements for the serious hula dancer and ticky-tacky touristy gewgaws. Not that we have anything against ticky-tacky gewgaws. You could go home with an authentic ti-leaf hula skirt—but it wouldn’t wear nearly as long as a Day-Glo cellophane-grass skirt. (Actually, you have to order the former two weeks in advance.) Either one will go great with a coconut-shell bra. Through the years the souvenir side of the Hula Supply Center spilled over into the space next door and became a separate-but-not-really store, Hawaiian Traders. For do-it-yourselfers, there’s a lovely selection of Hawaiian tapa-print fabrics.