Fall fashion, with an Island point of view
» Butt, how do I look?
Reader quiz: Match the pants with the man
» New designers
Meet talented Honolulu up-and-comers
» Wear abouts
Fashion news from an evolving city scene
» Fashion forum picks
These picks for fall raise your beauty quotient
Go classic or punk it up for a night out
Rusty Nishiyama shares her style secrets
» My Fashion Icon
Audrey Hepburn is Willow Chang's style muse
Profiles of three young artists
» Art scene
Opinion: Why can't local arts challenge more?
» Man about town
DJ Eskae takes us on a tour of his fave spots
» Cozy with cocktails
Set up your own bar and be ready to party
» Club guide
Wanna have fun? Check out these nightclub options?
Comment: Reality TV versus real-life love?
Photographs by Joaquin Siopack
Toby Portner always wanted to be a fashion designer, but growing up in Detroit, she was encouraged to pursue a practical profession, so she got her degrees in education and public health. After a move to Honolulu, where she works with the Department of Education as a resource teacher for gifted students, Portner had an epiphany: "I really want to design clothing. I don't have to BE a designer, I can just DO it." She took a pattern-making class and began sewing. She designed and made skirts that she wanted to wear, sent them off as gifts, and friends begged for more. A Chicago stylist discovered her and bought up every available piece, and soon several Midwestern boutiques were clamoring for Toby P. creations. In Honolulu, Portner took a cue from Tupperware: Local women can book a trunk show in their own homes, and Portner will arrive with racks of clothing. She also favors events she refers to as "awareness-raisers" bazaar-type shopping events with other artists/vendors to support a local cause. Portner, 39, has expanded her line to include pants, convertible dresses, tunics and her latest creations, eco-friendly curtains fashioned from remnants. On her fabric-buying trips to Los Angeles, she picks up complementary shoes, T-shirts, cardigans, blouses things that enable her clients to be wardrobed from head to toe. "Pattern mixer" is how she describes her style. Polka dots and plaids, calicos and camouflage are paired in her pieces. Go to www.polkadotreehouse.com to find out about her next show.
Emerging designer Dan Weaver, 23, of Makiki, might just become Hawai'i's first contestant in the wildly popular Bravo TV reality show "Project Runway." Last April, without any real planning or preparation, he traveled to Los Angeles to audition. He surprised everyone, including himself, making it through several rounds of screening and interviews. He got far enough along to meet with Tim Gunn, the show's designers' guide, and Jeffrey Sebelia, last year's Project Runway winner. Weaver is now honing his design skills in preparation for this month's FACE of Nu'uanu design competition. Last year, he was named a promising new designer. Weaver is developing a solid fashion portfolio, creating cohesive collections that he shows in Chinatown venues such as NextDoor and thirtyninehotel. His fall collection is earthy and body-conscious, employing knits. His attention to detail and interesting take on a woman's silhouette is ever-present. "Yes," Weaver said, "I did learn the correct way to make things in school, but I like to tweak it in weird ways until it all comes together for me." Cutting. slashing, patching and clipping are all part of his design vocabulary.
Carly Cais, 28, came on our radar in March when she became a national finalist in Bacardi Limón's Express Your Style competition. Her whirlwind trip to New York provided the inspiration and impetus to launch a new line of women's wear, Riveted. Although Cais, who lives in Makiki, is an animator by training and has little formal fashion background, she applied her considerable energy and talent (working at night while her 2-year-old, Keiden, slept) to a cohesive collection she debuted in June at thirtyninehotel. Inspired by gritty New York streets and graying late-spring snow, Cais selected a slate-gray wool jersey knit for her sophisticated, sculptural silhouettes. She then sparked it with feminine, pastel-pink accents in cotton knits. "My aesthetic is structured, tailored, body-conscious but not with everything hanging out," the designer said. Her upcoming holiday collection is in ever-popular black-and-white, sparked with crystal accents to add pizzazz to the urbane aesthetic.