Page 4 - MidWeek Kauai - Sep 28, 2022
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              Atrue Waimea boy, Micah Kamohoalii used to ride his horse to elementary school. With his backpack on, the paniolo in the making would tie his noble steed to a post near campus before heading off to class.
Who’s making noise on runways these days? None other than Micah Kamohoalii, whose Hawaiian-style designs are earning rave reviews from New York to Milan.
   This mode of transportation is entirely fitting for Hawai‘i Island’s northern countryside that’s lavish with rolling hills, green pastures and
“I was raised in Waimea all my life,” says Kamohoalii, proudly. “My family has come from this town for, I usually tell people, the last 100 generations. My family’s been here forever.”
“The word community is ‘com- mon’ and ‘unity,’” he shares. “We learned that we have to be that way because we have no other resources. There was no governmental money
So, when New York Fashion Week came knocking and Kamo- hoalii had no clothes to show, he called upon his community and they came through — just like they always do.
put it in the spam folder,” he says, laughing. “Then, the next day, I was like, ‘Imagine if that was real,’ so I wrote back, not really believ- ing it, saying, ‘Sure, whatever.’ We set up a Zoom call, and here I was thinking it was going to be (people) asking for Target and Walmart gift cards. But when they came on, it was actual executives from New York Fashion Week — and you could tell they were the real deal — and I was like, ‘Oh, hi, give me a second,’ and I fixed my hair and came back on.”
cattle as far as the eye can see. The air there is brisk, too, as the town sits at 2,600 feet above sea level, set against the grand backdrop of Mauna Kea.
Growing up in a town with a pop- ulation of 400 at the time taught him the meaning of community from an early age. Everyone looked out for one another and no one got left be- hind.
that made it to us; it all ran out by the time it hit Hilo and Kona. We had to learn how to share, work together and be one family unit if we ever wanted to get anywhere.”
was too good to be true.
“I thought it was a hoax, so I
  Fashion designer and kumu hula Micah Kamohoalii and his entourage brought the house down during New York Fashion Week. PHOTO COURTESY HOUSE OF KAMOHOALII
It all began when the Honokaʻa High and Intermediate School graduate, who’s been creating and selling apparel through Dezigns by Kamohoalii since the early 2000s, held a pop-up shop during Merrie Monarch, a weeklong cultural festi- val that he dubs “Hawai‘i’s fashion week,” to sell his items that range from men’s and women’s clothes to pillows and coffee mugs. It was a successful, whirlwind of a week- end, and Kamohoalii had nothing left by the end of it, which is when he received an email he thought
Kamohoalii says the very-real- and-not-fake fashion officials saw his Telly Award-winning commer- cial — which featured his ‘ohana at their local heiau, at the beach and on horseback, staying true to their Waimea roots — as well as his part in the Emmy-nominated

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