Inspired by his cultural upbringing as a native Hawaiian hula practitioner, self-taught fashion designer Manaola Yap translates Hawaiian spirituality and Hawai’i’s natural beauty into prints that embody repetitious patterns found in nature.
Manaola Yap was born into a family whose cultural and artistic roots run deep into the volcanic soil of Hawai‘i Island. For generations before contact with the West, his ancestors were hula practitioners and artisans of traditional Hawaiian textiles and dyes; more recently, his family has become known for its award-winning musical talent. Raised amid this tradition of creativity, Manaola stands upon the strong foundation laid out by his kūpuna (ancestors).
Manaola learned the art and technique of costume creation and styling from his mother, Kumu Hula (hula teacher) Nani Lim Yap, and it was through this transfer of knowledge that his interest in fashion was first sparked. As his interest in fashion grew, he began to research the history of pre- and post-contact fashion in Hawai‘i. At the same time, he continued to develop as a skilled hula practitioner and his connection with his ancestral roots—and with Hawai‘i—deepened. Out of this synergy of interests, Manaola began to conceive of an idea: could he translate the spirituality of Hawaiian culture, and the beauty and wonder of Hawai‘i, into an artistic language that could be shared with the entire world, and understood by all?
This fashion brand is Manaola’s answer to that question. Featuring bold, printed patterns that embody the Hawaiian spirit and evoke the beauty and geometry of nature, this brand introduces to the world Manaola’s vision for Hawaiian fashion in the 21st century.