Kanoelani Davis, owner of Po-Mahina Designs is scheduled to make her debut at London Pacific Fashion Week next month. She is a clothing entrepreneur and probably the first fashion designer to represent a Hawaiian collection in London.
The event beginning Sept. 13 is part of the prestigious London Fashion Week is considered one of the world’s premier fashion venues. When she was learning martial arts and hula as a kid on Molikai, she didn’t;t have much access to practitioners who could make kapa clothes. So her family learned to make their own weapons, hula implements and clothing.
“At the time it just felt like a lot of work,” Davis said. “As I reflect back now as an adult with 38 years under my belt of training, I am completely grateful for all of those sacrifices and trials and tribulations, because it’s really grounded me in who I am, and it allowed me to value and honor so many parts of our culture traditionally.”
Making things in connection to her culture has always been central to Davis’s life. Missing Polynesia’s fashion collection was featured in London in 2015 but the designer couldn’t appear in person for the show, Davis explains.
“The reality is we’re doing great work on our island, and people are watching and they’re seeing what we’re doing, and we are making a difference just being who we are,” Davis said Sunday from her home on Molokai.