Hawaii Fashion Month: Hawaii's Melting Pot of Fashion

October 2013 will be the first ever Hawaii Fashion Month, a movement to make Hawaii recognised as a fashion destination like California and New York. The event will echo throughout art galleries, shopping centres, theatres, schools and eateries state wide.

Paul Brown states, "Hawai‘i Fashion Month gives local stylists, designers and retailers the opportunity to showcase the multicultural talent within our state’s fashion and beauty industries. Hawai‘i styles and trends not only represent our island culture, but they also symbolize a dynamic melting pot of fashion with inspiration from all over the world."

It's true, Hawaii offers a unique blend of fashion, where eastern and western tastes mix and mingle. When you first think of Hawaiian fashion, you probably think of Aloha shirts, leis, slippers (flip flops) and miu mius. But the truth is there is so much more to offer; from avant garde couture from designers fresh out of school and still budding, to our thriving hub of Japanese sub cultures.

J-fashion enthusiasts of all sects gathered at Ala Moana Shopping Center last month, for the first ever Honolulu "Harajuku Fashion Walk." Guests included representatives of Visual Kei, Sweet, Gothic and Classic Lolita, Cult Party Kei, Shironuri and Decora.

We met inside "Shirokiya", Ala Moana's unique Japanese Department store and Food Court. From there we went on a trek through Ala Moana Beach Park and back up to Neiman Marcus, taking refuge in the air conditioning.

On our journey we were stopped by curious bystanders, shocked Japanese tourists, and we were even bombarded by a children's birthday party posse, who recognised the Lolita fashion with gusto. The entire party took their photos with the J-fashion group (And I made a small child cry with my shironuri Vkei outfit. Not intentional.)

It was a wonderful way for all of us to come together and show our style. I loved it because I was able to go out to a meet-up in something other than lolita that I enjoy- The Visual Kei style. (I am the one in the white hair, red tie and red Listen Flavor Boots.)

Speaking of Visual Kei... me, my friend Alice, Nephilim Halls and several other sponsors have teamed up to bring J-fashion out of the closet in Hawaii. One of our events was a "Pop Kei Fashion Show", hosted by Loading Zone for their "Anime Mayhem!" event, a gallery show of anime styled art by local artists. 

Models, mainly supporters of our Visual Kei Dark Castle events, came out in items from their own closet. Brands like Putumayo, h.Naoto and Mint Neko were well represented. The theme was "Pop Kei", or a more casual, pop art style of oshare kei.

Alice and I also had a Pop-Up booth with information on J-fashion, music and alternative events in Hawaii, and of course Visual Kei Dark Castle.

Since there were art supplies out for guests, we even received fan art from an adorable little girl!

Our main goal was to get the word out about J-fashion in Hawaii, and to attract a following for our upcoming event: VKDC: Angels and Demons. It was our usual bi-monthly Visual Kei Dark Castle event but with a "Heaven vs. Hell" theme. 

The guests got REALLY into dressing up... and much to my surprise, it wasn't all demons! We had some amazing angels! Here I am with my fried Dana, who made his detachable wings and all his accessories by hand!

I lead the Angels, and my friend and Co-host Alice lead the Demons.

Here we are with the winners and runners up of our Fashion Contest! The Best Demon was awarded a gift card to Sensually Yours, and the Best Angel scored a gift card for The Tea Farm Cafe. Both are local Hawaii businesses.

And this was NOTHING! Visual Kei Dark Castle is only just starting to take off in Hawaii... and in October, with Hawaii Fashion Month we are going to prove it to you, with our VKDC Halloween Party!

You are cordially invited to join us at our new venue, the newly owned, operated and renovated Next Door in Honolulu. Save the date for October 5th from 8 PM to 11 PM, and stick around for our following late-night Industrial Event, "HYDRA".

BIG Mahalos to Millenium Hawaii for sponsoring, and Mariko Obsidian for always making kick-ass flyers!

We even filmed our first-ever commercial for this event, inspired by Halloween Junk Orchestra's "Halloween Party". 

** I'm not sure if Embed is working or not, so if you don't see the video below CLICK HERE!**

It was filmed at our new venue, Next Door.

Come out on October 5th to kick off Hawaii Fashion Month, Halloween style with some of the most innovative and creative fashions on the island. Come out and play with the monsters!

Photo courtesy of Jeff Cox

Feeling J-fashioned out yet?? Well, I haven't posted in nearly five months, boys and girls... this is barely scratching the surface! I just wanted to get you in the know about some of the awesome things we have going on in Hawaii. Obviously, Hawaii Fashion Month is not only a fitting idea, but it's been a long time coming.

There are so many incredible fashion scenes going on in Hawaii... and the general public barely knows about them yet!

To international fashion, and beyond!

Xoxo, Cherie

LBC: Top 3 Wishlist Items

It has been a long time since I joined the gathering under the Lolita Big Top, for the Lolita Blog Carnival. (Or maybe it just feels like a long time.)

Truth be told, I'm not up to date on anything Lolita at all. My friends know when all the new releases and re-releases are, and I'm just sitting around enjoying the dresses I have. Is that a bad thing? No, I don't think so. I haven't pined for a dream dress in a long time. Though there are brands I would love to just amass a collection from, such as Atelier Pierrot.

Thus, this week's challenge topic was a bit of a head scratcher for me... "Top 3 Wishlist Items". Let's take a look at what I've been dying for.

First of all, this isn't even a lolita item is it? But it is currently my dream item. It's an asymmetrical coat by Mint Neko. It jumped out at me when I browsed the webshop, and I choked a bit at the price tag, approaching $400. But then I saw the coat in person, when I modelled for Mint at Kawaiikon. It was so gorgeous and detailed, it has hung in my mind ever since. If I received a mysterious credit card from a benefactor/sugar daddy that said "Go get some clothes", this is the first thing I'd hunt down. 

Next thing on my wish list is... this entire h.Naoto BLOOD coordinate. It's been haunting my dreams since I first saw the photos. Alternatively, I've been pining for a long gothic lolita ensemble in general, a  la Atelier Pierrot. 

I suppose last, but not least... because I feel required to post something actually Lolita, haha...

... is this dress! Like I said, I haven't been following Lolita lately, but I saw this dress somewhere and immediately saved the picture. I adore red in Lolita, and think this dress is so precious and princessy. I would love to dress up like Snow White and wear this with my red enamel Metamorphose shoes. Unfortunately, I think it is sold out in this colour way, according to a friend who helped me look for it. Sigh, that's my luck. 

Other things on my must have wish list, that aren't necessarily Lolita...

1. A Takuya Angel Scouter!! I have always, always wanted one of these. One of the first books I ever bought as a teenager on Tokyo Street Fashion had a photo of someone wearing a scouter in it, and I have wanted one ever since.

2. A Qutie Frash outfit. I think Qutie Frash's outfits are so unique, have the perfect balance of futuristic and nostalgic, their colours and patterns have such nice balance, and on top of that, it's all so fricken sexy. 

Lastly... I don't know, you are really asking too much of a fashion enthusiast to narrow it down to a handful of items, haha. If you'd like to see clothing I like outside of Lolita, and my "wish list" items, have a glance at my Pinterest Board called "Get On Me". 

What are other Lolis praying to Mana for? Let's take a look at the entries of other participants this week...

Hawaii Lolita Meetup at Cream Pot

On Sunday, I attended one of the biggest Lolita Meetups I have ever been to in Hawaii. With almost 20 lolitas in attendance, we packed our favourite restaurant, The Cream Pot in Waikiki!

The whole gang! Photo courtesy of my friend Cat.

The theme was just "Spring", and lolita attire was not required, but everyone dressed up anyway. However some girls tied in mori girl elements to match the cottage style of the restaurant, or I decided to do a Minori-inspired shironuri look. 

The meet-up was very casual. Everyone chatted and ordered what they liked as we enjoyed the Ghibli-esque scenery of the restaurant. 

I ordered Strawberry Souffle pancakes, and a banana smoothie. The soufflé pancakes are super fluffy, almost like air or whipped cream. They were served with custard, fresh cream, and fresh strawberries in a light syrup.

Many pictures were taken as we talked amongst ourselves, hopping tables like a Mad Tea Party.

Photo courtesy of my friend Samantha

My friends got some great shots of my makeup, so I was very happy!

Photo courtesy of my friend Ashley

Afterwards, we all went to Funpix in McCully shopping centre for Purikura madness. We did almost four sessions! Since we are all busy, it's been forever since we were together for Purikura.

It was such a great day! Cream Pot is one of my favourite places to go in Hawaii. The atmosphere is perfect for a Lolita meet-up, and the owners are always so kind and accommodating to us. Plus, it has been a while since I was able to just hang out with my Lolita friends, without there being an event or a show to worry about! It was so nice.

Photo by Emi Smile photos

It is definitely beginning to feel like Spring now, even in tropical Hawaii. 

xoxo, Cherie

LBC: Animal Themed Lolita Coord

Hello again darlings, and welcome back to the ongoing Lolita Blog circle project, Lolita Blog Carnival! This week, the theme was "Pick an animal and create an outfit around it". 

I chose one of my favourite animals... or, I guess they are technically insects.

Butterflies, yaaay! 

I like butterflies because they're very fragile, delicate and beautiful. Those are all of the things that come to mind when I think of Lolita. 

Yet some butterflies, such as the Blue Morpho, have a darker side to them... for example, when the larva hatches from the egg it becomes survival of the fittest, since the mother abandons her eggs. Sometimes your brothers or sisters will eat you before you even hatch! Also, the Blue Morpho is known for living on the liquids of decomposing animals, as well as the nectar of fruits. In this stronger, almost sinister side of the fragile butterfly, I see the dark beauty of gothic lolita. 

And so, to me, butterflies are a good metaphor for the Lolita. Their complexity and range of species make them my favourite "animal". 

My theme was to go with something yellow, for Spring time, with daises and lilies tied in for Easter. However, all of my clothing is dark, so I ended up using tulle as a scarf over a white blouse, and focused on my makeup instead. My makeup was heavily influenced by the artist Minori. (I've been looking into a lot of angura kei and shironuri styles lately.) 

It came out very ethereal, and I felt like a fairy!

However, the theme for this week was to show off a complete coordinate, so I'd like to share an older outfit which was also centred around butterflies. For this outfit, I wore old school black and white lolita, with black and grey butterflies in my hair.

The following photos are courtesy of my friend Gina. 
They were taken at an old historic post office in Honolulu.

And well, as you can see from the contrast on outfits, butterflies are really complex creatures. They inspire me in Lolita fashion, so it felt natural for me to share these coordinates for this week's theme. Thank you for looking, and I hope that you enjoyed! 

Now, let's check out what other Lolitas used for their outfits this week! Click the links through to some of my fellow Lolita bloggers to see...

Why I really love...

Many times I've wanted to write articles about something I really love, but don't normally get to talk about in my event reports or Lolita articles. Some topics have been favourite anime series, physical activities, cosmetics or quirky hobbies.

Today, I want to talk about why I really love: Figure collecting.

Kaito Nendoroid, Vocaloid. Goodsmile Co.

Figures are sort of like action figures, only with much more detail, and for display purposes only. Some can be very rare and cost hundreds of dollars. Others can be "Garage Kits", or plain PVC pieces you can mix, match, and paint yourself. Others include the cheaper "blind box" and "gachapon" figures, which are left up to chance for which character or figure you get.

Some even hook up as a series, so you need to buy all the parts to complete the display! I have two sets like this. One is an Evangelion volleyball scene I haven't finished, and the other is a set from the new Evangelion movie (3.0: You can [not] Redo). Each segment of this set included a piece of Asuka's helmet. After you collected all three characters the helmet was complete, and the Asuka figure can wear it!

The interesting thing about figures is that they don't seem to follow traditional copyright "sense". They are well-known and beloved characters, but are redesigned, reimagined by artists and recreated time and time again, by several manufacturers, all with their own expertise. For example, Goodsmile company is known for their adorable chibi "Nendoroids", with all their interchangeable parts. "Figma" company also features interchangeable parts, but the figures also have ball joints for pose ability.

I started figure collecting in Japan, when my friend first introduced me to it. My first figures were little Asuka chibis, which I bought from a second-hand shop in Ohsu, and it all kind of grew from there.

It became so exciting raiding a bin of figures, or trying Gachapon over and over, hoping for the character I wanted. If I didn't like the figure, I would sell it back to a second hand shop, and go back to the capsule machines, or the arcades to try and win rarer figures.

I remember in Ohsu, some of the arcades would have special locked cases with really rare figures inside. In some special games, you could win a key inside your prize. The key would unlock one of the special cases, and you could choose a figure from inside! I used to admire the rare or discontinued figures in the case, but never won any.

My collection has really grown over the past year...

Many were gifts from friends, who know which characters I like. I've had pretty good luck so far, with the blind boxes. I wish there were a place to sell or trade back the characters you don't want though, like in Japan.

Probably the nicest one I have is this Kotetsu figure, which my boyfriend got me for my birthday. This may sound a little strange but he has several detachable heads! He's also really tall, and the detail is amazing.

Figures may not be the most useful things in the world, but I really enjoy collecting them and setting up displays. Once my other figures are sent over from the mainland, I think I'll have enough to get a nice case or shelf to display them in. 

They're kind of tacky, and definitely the stamp of an otaku, but I think that's what I love about it! I actually find super nerdy things really endearing. ;3 Living in Japan changed my perspective on whether or not you should hide your nerdiness. It is a delicate balance between enjoyment and appropriateness, but there is nothing wrong with enjoying it on your own time.

A girl's home is her castle... and mine is a castle of heroes! 

xoxo, Dorky Darling Cherie.

Event Recap: Kawaii Kon 2013

I am not even sure where to begin recapping this year's incredible Kawaii Kon. Are you ready for a MEGA-POST?

My plan of action is to retell the main events now, then post later with more photos and "Memorable Moments". The main events include the MINT NeKO fashion Show, a performance by Lolita musician Iruma Rioka, our pop-up Dark Castle, and more!

The guests were amazing this year, with vendors Harajuku Hearts packing frilly heat with Angelic Pretty, Black Peace Now, Putumayo, Chantilly and Atelier Pierrot. J-House Rock also represented the J-fashion community with a pop-up h.Naoto booth featuring MINT NeKO and an assortment of accessories from BLOOD and Frill.

I suppose it all started on Thursday night, with my fitting for the MINT NeKO fashion show. I met up with the other models in the lobby of Ala Moana Hotel, chatting and looking about for a stylish Japanese guy to appear out of thin air. At around 7, a woman emerged from the elevator, peeked around the corner and called, "Are you the models?"

She herded us into the elevators (the thought "herding cats" comes to mind), and took us up, up, up to where Mint's apartment was. I couldn't get over the fact that we were going into a designer's apartment! It was a pretty small room, especially with all of us crammed inside. MINT clothing was sprawled over the bed in a pile of monochromatic cat prints. Mint took us in groups of three, then threw back the sliding closet door to reveal a treasure trove of MINT outfits ready on hangers. He handed us our outfit one at a time, then ushered us into another room to change. When we came back, he took a polaroid photo, then we were free to go.

I was nervous, because I hate how pastels and neons look on me, and that was what he was handing out to most of the girls. But I beamed when he handed me my outfit... a grey asymmetrical cut sew and voluminous black and red harem pants. As I rushed off to change, I nervously offered Mint the gift I had made him...

A beach bucket with a squirt gun, water bombs and some sunscreen, to enjoy the pool and sunshine in Hawaii. I drew the "Neko" myself and Mint's name in katakana on the back. I muttered, 「ハワイにようこそ!」then scampered off. 

I was one of the last models to be shot. After Mint took my Polaroid, I returned the outfit, then drove my friend home and prepared for the day of chaos that would ensue on Friday.

Friday was a day of scoping out the dealer's room, meeting online friends, admiring outfits and cosplays and catching up for my birthday celebration. (My birthday was on Thursday but I was busy with the Mint fitting.)

First I attended Mint's panel on Fabric design. Unfortunately it didn't go very smoothly, because there were problems playing his video and nobody was really asking good questions. Eventually the audience broke the ice and Mint made everyone laugh. He said his favourite gourmet food is McDonalds, and he became a fashion designer to impress girls.

He also talked about his inspiration as a designer, and his work. His main inspiration as a designer is Vivienne Westwood. He said that there was a traveling art exhibition in Japan, featuring work by designers inspired by Vivienne Westwood. One of Mint's creations was featured in this exhibition. I wanted to tell him that a new Vivienne Westwood boutique just opened in Waikiki, but I was interrupted by an audience member who inquired how many cats he owns. (Apparently none- but he likes to watch stray cats wherever he goes.)

At the end of the panel, he showed a film clip from his Tokyo collection. The models included members of Megamasso, Golden Bomber, Akira from Kera, and Takeru. I think not everyone in the panel appreciated this spread of celebrities, but I was squealing to myself the whole time.

I had to ask, because I always do, "What kind of music do you like?"Apparently his favourites are Matenrou Opera, NoGoD and Radwimps!

The panel wrapped up, but they said Mint would be at his booth, so I rushed over. After mulling over the merchandise, I decided to buy the same cut sew I'd wear in the fashion show, because I loved it so much! Since I purchased it, I got a polaroid and autograph from Mint.

After that, it was just killing time until my own big event...

Visual Kei Dark Castle! 

Normally we only run VKDC bimonthly, with a venue and the help of our producer, Nephillim Halls. However, my partner Alice Demize and I were approached by Kawaii Kon and asked to bring VKDC to the convention. 

And the best part was, we didn't get a tiny hall... we got the whole ballroom!

Dual screen projectors and everything! 

I think we had a decent turn out considering we didn't start until 11. We encouraged people to get up and dance but most of them just sat... one reason I wasn't expecting all the chairs, but oh well! 

The problem was, we tried to run it like a mini version of VKDC, where we video DJ and have a dance party type thing. However most of the guests were just confused and had no idea what visual kei was- or they only knew Malice Mizer, and didn't know other styles exist. So I think at the next convention, if we can, I'd like to run a more informative panel discussing what Visual Kei is, a bit of its history, and some of it's sub-genres. Maybe then we'll get a more enthusiastic crowd. 

After VKDC, it was time to carpool over to SoHo Mixed Media Bar for Nephilim Hall's event, the Gibson Ball. The Gibson Ball was a mainly cyber punk themed event dedicated to steam punk, cyber and all alternative realities related to scifi. 

Of the events I've been to at SoHo, I think this was my favourite to date. The guests were great sports about dressing up, and some were handing out glow sticks. The walls were decorated with tube lights, mesh, and projections of cyber movies and anime like Ghost in the Shell. The DJs were amazing and nearly everyone was dancing. 

I didn't get back to my apartment until about 3 am, getting some funny looks from the desk staff with my white contacts in. I collapsed on the bed and slept like a rock until my alarm went off, and I had to drag myself across the street at 7 for hair and makeup for the Mint fashion show. 

I have modeled for a Japanese brand before, when Atelier Pierrot came over for HEXXP last Fall. But in comparison, Kawaii Kon's team just beat the pants off HEXXP. The makeup and hair artists were fast, skilled, organised, and knew what the hell they were doing. Everything ran like clock work and we had plenty of time to change and rehearse. 

I loved my Makeup!

The show was a huge success! It felt so avant-garde and high fashion, the most serious fashion show I've ever been in. I was really proud to wear Mint's clothes. 

All of us at the end of the show. Photo courtesy of my friend Cat.

Mint taking a bow. Photo courtesy of my friend Gina.
And yes, those are balloons in our hair!

After, I went to the Iruma Rioka concert, where I was distracted by guitarist Nemu's incredible fashion. The show was great, Iruma's sweet vocals are amazing, and the performance was dream-like. Iruma even wandered out to the crowd, handing out roses to the front row. She tried to get the crowd to do things concert goers do in Japan, like coordinated dances with glow sticks and hands, but it wasn't working. xD;

 Honestly the rest of the day was uneventful. I went back to the apartment to change, then made an appearance at the Yu x Me Maid Cafe panel. I didn't get to perform this time, but I did greet guests and play table games with them. 

After, I went back to the apartment and CRASHED! I was still wiped from the Gibson Ball the night before. I did wake up in time for our midnight Korean Barbecue reservations though. I chilled with my friends, who are all event photographers for the Kon. As a vegetarian, I got to pick on the various side dishes served, and ate some miso stew over rice. It was such a nice meal after a long day. 

Also, my friend got us a round of Soju! It's like Korean sake you could say, but it doesn't have the burn of sake. 

Much needed. 
Sunday, to make a long story short, was no-frills-barred Lolita Day. Since it was St. Patrick's Day, I busted out my favourite green Atelier Pierrot "Eden" Jsk. I wore it with harlequin tights and my Bordello boots. 

With my friend Alice. Photo courtesy of my friend Cat.

First I headed over to the Harajuku Hearts booth, to meet Iruma Rioka. You could meet her for a photo and autograph with any purchase from Harajuku Hearts, so I chose a silver wing ring from Angelic Pretty. I was nervous I wouldn't get to see her because the Vocaloids Live concert was at the same time, but luckily she arrived in the nick of time! 

With the goddess Iruma. She wore Atelier Pierrot too!
I ran into Iruma again while wandering around the con. I spotted her and Nemu sitting outside in the main concourse, so I smiled and waved. Much to my surprise, they beckoned me over! Nemu said they were doing a live U-stream broadcast back to Japan at the moment. Nemu turned the camera on me and said, "This is a Hawaii Lolita!" 

They asked if they could take a picture with me and my friend (who I had just met while wandering). The picture turned up on her official Facebook! 

I was a little star struck, haha! I wonder if they'll come back in the Fall for Onicon, with Atelier Pierrot.

Well darlings, even if I wanted to write more right now I couldn't, because I'm exhausted. xD But please look forward to a part two and funny little memories from the convention. I should also be able to fill you in on more upcoming events here in Hawaii!

Also, I've gotten more questions about traveling in Japan, and I can't wait to answer!

Till then, stay tuned!

xoxo, Cherie