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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, February 19, 2010

Counter Couture

By Paula Rath
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

DISfunkshion editor finds her fashion flairs for under $40.

DEBORAH BOOKER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Hugette Montesinos keeps her accessories organized and says she never puts the same look together twice. She's the editor-in-chief of DISfunkshion magazine.

DEBORAH BOOKER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Stylists: Rachel Zoe (all the way!) and Joe Zee

Fashion blog: The Sartorialist

Designer: John Galliano

Local shops: Artlines; Forever 21; Charlotte Russe ($6 shoe rack); Siam Imports; Slipper House; Lucky Brand jeans' semi-annual sales

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Hugette Montesinos, 26, of Waikīkī is not your typical fashion stylist. While the Rachel Zoes, Grace Coddingtons and Paul Cavacos of the world work with couture worth thousands or hundreds of thousands, Montesinos takes pride in the fact that when putting clothes on her own back, she has never spent more than $40 for an accessory or item of clothing.

For this Island interpreter of fashion, it's all about her own innate sense of style, with nary a nod to trends or luxury designers.

A great stylist has the ability to make a $10 So Good necklace look as exciting as a $100,000 Harry Winston choker. Montesinos has that talent.

Montesinos, who is hapa Cuban-Venezuelan, lives a sort of double life. While pursuing her master's degree in Spanish literature at the University of Hawai'i-Mānoa and teaching Spanish 101, she is also editor-in-chief of DISfunkshion magazine.

The magazine has made its mark because of its avant-garde sartorial style, a style evolved from Montesinos' imagination and personal vision, along with creative cohorts such as designer Andy South and photographer Harold Julian. Fashion styling is an innately collaborative endeavor involving photographers, models, hair and makeup professionals.

As for her own personal style, Montesinos describes it as "Eclectic as you can get," but she also confesses, "I have a huge attraction to the hippie culture." That plays into her look, with bandannas, headbands, bold prints and layers of chunky beads often in evidence.


DISfunkshion is not your typical celebrity or sex- driven lifestyle magazine. Montesinos brings to it her strong Christian ethic, which she hones at New Hope church.

"My main interest is to use my passions to influence women and show that you can be fashionable, beautiful and healthy without following the darker side of losing too much weight, sleeping around and all that," she says. "I call it my ministry."

While Montesinos did study fashion design and merchandising at the Miami International University of Art & Design, most of her learning has been on-the-job and by the seat of her pants. She created her portfolio with a $100 clothing and accessories budget and a call for photographers on Craigslist.

When she arrived in Ho--no--lulu five years ago, Montesinos knew nothing about the local fashion scene. She introduced herself to DJ Kutmaster Spaz, who was then publishing a magazine called Dis 'n Dat in conjunction with his entertainment business. When his creative director left, he shut down the magazine. Montesinos decided to make her move and created a complete mock-up and business plan, presenting it to Spaz. He loved it and DISfunkshion was born.

Spaz then sold the project to Montesinos, who has expanded its distribution to Barnes & Nobles and Borders throughout Hawai'i and in select fashion cities across the Mainland. She is now studying the Japanese market for possible expansion.

We asked Montesinos to give us a peek inside her closet to get a sense of how this stylist styles herself. She said she never creates the same look twice for her magazine or for herself.

Asked to describe her personal style, she described it as a look in which hippie chic and runway styles collide.

Reach Paula Rath at paularath@aol.com or 595-4904. For more style news and views, check out our blog at http://www.hawaiisfashionforum.honadvblogs.com.

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