Maui fashion brand Pulelehua Maui headed to New York Fashion Week


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PC: Pulelehua Maui.

A team of 10 from Maui-based fashion brand Pulelehua Maui will head to New York Fashion Week on Thursday.

Owner Gemma Alvior attends the Model Experience 30 event on September 11, 2022 in Brooklyn, NY.

According to Alvior, other Hawaiian brands have appeared at New York Fashion Week events, but this is the first time a Maui brand has been invited and the first time a Hawaiian brand has hosted a Brooklyn event.

The fashion show will take place at 3:30 pm ET (9:30 am HST) and will feature 60 designers. Tickets can be purchased to watch in person, but friends can watch Pulelehua’s episode of the show live on Facebook and Instagram.

Pulelehua Maui was launched in 2016 inspired by the fashion seen at the annual Mary Monarch Hula Festival in Hilo, Hawaii. Alvior had been a member of the Halau Kekua’okala’ala’iliahi.

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“When I was young I always wanted to be a designer. I went to Long Beach State, which has a really good art college, and there’s a school for fashion designers in Long Beach, but I was too scared to do that because I couldn’t cut straight and I couldn’t draw. ” Alvior said, later acknowledging her ability to see and visualize the designs she wanted.

After finding a seamstress, she found a company that could print designs on Oahu. At first she makes the pattern and material choices, and uses the designs that already exist; But in the year

Because of Mary Monarch, Lechua was the first design. I wanted to celebrate the year I competed,” Alvier said. In time, the rapid death toll doubled its impact in two years, spreading to 30,000 acres on Hawaii Island.

“My sewing could not continue. We kept selling,” Alvier said. In addition to swap meets, she sells her clothes at fundraising events and craft fairs. “She told me that if I wanted to continue, I would have to do foreign exchange. I never wanted to take it out – I wanted to keep it in Hawaii and Maui.

As one of her designer friends advises: People are going to buy your stuff because it’s your design–no matter who makes it. It’s what you put into it.’ With her seamstress running out and an extra order to fill, Alvier decided to do just that.

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In the year In 2020, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Alvior was fired from her job as a guest services agent at Hawaiian Airlines, allowing her to focus on her clothing label.

“I found a fantastic graphic designer who understood my vision of how I wanted my designs to look,” says Alvier. The collaboration resulted in designs that included the Luha, Kalo, Orchid, Lai and Iowa Bird.

On Mother’s Day, Pulelehua Maui launched the iwa, la’i and orchid designs, part of the kuliana collection, which represent endurance, protection and honor. The reason for that is that my third older sister died during the covid and my nephew died the next year… With everything that happened in my family, I wanted to bring a van because you have to be resilient to be able to do it. Life goes on, and you just have to move on,” Alvier said.

The lae or tea leaf was chosen because of its protective properties. And the orchid was chosen to honor Alvier’s mother, who is battling stage 4 cancer.

Alvior was born in the Philippines, raised in Northern California, and moved to Maui in 1999. She started dancing at the age of 10 and continues to do so today. “Hula has always been a part of me. I’ve always loved the language, and I’ll take that with me… I’m honored to be able to support and embrace the culture and share meaningful designs.” Alvior said.

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Alvier’s daughter, Faith, has launched her own bath line, Kulunakinis, which is available at Pulelehua Maui pop-ups and online. The Baldwin High School senior introduced the logo during the pandemic with designs that included the proto, pukenikeni and garden.

Once on the East Coast, Halawai, a New York-based nonprofit group dedicated to supporting people of common interest in Hawaii and the Pacific Ocean, will assist with transportation and guidance for the Maui contingent. The group selected scenic locations for Pulelehua photo shoots, and arranged a musical program for musicians Hoaka Music, which will be accompanied by a group from Maui.

Hoka Music, featuring Kalani Miles and Cason Gomes, will be sharing their music at a free event on Saturday, September 10, 2022 from 6-8pm at the Bryant Park Hotel.

Their music will also be performed as part of the fashion show, along with an Oli about Maui, composed by Luana Kawa’a and shared by Leinaala Medeiros.

Brooklyn Event’s mission is to create opportunities for models and talent. It was founded in 2012, and past participants have gone on to model for Vogue, HBO Max, Guess and more.

Model Experience offers a total of 25 female and 4 male models, whose goal is to be signed by a modeling agency. Two of the women who walked the Pulelehua runway are Valley Isle–Miss Maui USA 2021-2022, Kawena Kanhai and Mali Menner.

For the rest of the models, Alvior shared her own vision with the team, many of whom are not going to Maui or Hawaii. “I sent them a long email about who I am and what the designs mean. It’s not just the flowers you’re wearing… I want to make sure they understand what they’re wearing,” she said.

Pulelehua Maui has been invited to LA Fashion Week in October, but has not yet given the time limit for the event.

For the holiday season, Pullehua Maui will host a pop-up shop at the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center’s old Forever 21 store, where Alvier will debut three new designs. The event will be held from December 15-20, 2022.

While the Pulelehua Apparel LLC website is temporarily in “off” mode, Alvior will focus on the NY fashion show, but will soon return to work with new fashion from the runways coming to the online store.


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