This past weekend, Hilo hosted the first ever “Hawai`i Swim Show” at the Wainaku Executive Center. The creative minds behind the event are hometown wahine Kali`a Leimakani Kekela Wasson and Taylor-Megan Kawaia`ala Matas, who were inspired by Miami Swim Week, an iconic event running for the past 35 years featuring swimwear and resort fashion from designers across the globe. Working closely with local modeling talent and local business sponsors like Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water (“Waiakea Water”), this event promoted community, talent, and sustainability. This 3-day show brought our community together and was beautifully executed.
We were fortunate to be able to attend the opening night, courtesy of Waiakea Water. Upon our VIP red carpet entry, we were treated to a lovely hard seltzer, courtesy of Ola Brew Co. With bubbles in hand, we walked the grounds of the venue, taking selfies and photos of the beautiful setting. We then found our seats (and goodie bags!) to watch the show.
The Hawai`i Swim Show, appropriately, featured our very own local and home-grown designers, whose talents exceed many of those featured in Maimi (just a little bias here). The event was sponsored by Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water, Ola Brew Co., SPC Hilo Hotel, Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, and more. Presenting in this year’s inaugural event were:
Alohiwai Hydra Hawai`i Hilokinis
Lokahi Swimwear Kalo Kini Lei Kinis ‘Aukai
Tai Swim Co. Lexbreezy Hawai`i Hana X Swimwear
Swmsutes the Label Leimakani Evamele Swimwear
The swimwear and resort wear showed the amazing design talent we have here in Hawai`i. The pieces were all beautifully made with creative twists or accents, and the models exhibited them impeccably. It was wonderful to see models of all ages, shapes, and sizes on the runway, with many of the designers emphasizing in their introductions the importance of embracing and celebrating the beauty of every woman (and man) just as they are.
All of the models were excellent ambassadors for the swimsuits and resort wear. One of the models, however, is extraordinary. Kamalani (“Kama”) Dung, from Wai`anae, is a professional fast-pitch softball player (pitcher). Kama has an amazing story of origin, rising out of difficult circumstances to attend Kamehameha Kapalama High School and then on to pitch for Fresno State and UC Berkeley. In 2020, Kama signed with the California Commotion to play professional softball, after having played for the Puerto Rican Women’s National Softball Team. Kama ruled the runway just like she’s ruled batters for the last seven years. Kama is a Waiakea Ambassador, and said, “it has been such a blessing to find support in the community and work with amazing companies like Waiakea water. I have so much I want to accomplish and share with others who might be struggling and I am grateful to be a part of this great event.” This amazing young woman plans to continue to mentor youth through her organization Kama Training, a program helping underserved athletes of the Pacific.
The 2022 Hawai`i Swim Show was a resounding success and demonstrated the quality, ingenuity, and beauty the designers of the Islands have to offer the world in the realm of swimwear and resort wear.