Collins & 8th gives Hawaii fashion landscape a Miami flair - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Collins & 8th gives Hawaii fashion landscape a Miami flair

KAKAAKO (HawaiiNewsNow) - One trip to Miami Beach, and you'll know why fashion and flair are synonymous with the city.

A local girl was so inspired that she brought the flavor of Miami back to our islands. In this week's "Small Business in Hawaii Works", the new boutique Collins and 8th is proving that Honolulu can be just as fashion-forward as its mainland counterparts.

At Collins and 8th in Kakaako, a new brand of vogue has hit Hawaii. 34 year old Maida Montemayor always dreamed of opening her own boutique but, to make her mark, she knew she'd have to do something different.

"Just to show people here that it's possible to do a whole look and be trendy and be fashion-forward with pieces from Hawaii," Montemayor explains about her thinking.

Repeat trips to South Florida influenced her sense of style, and she features that vibrant Miami feel at her Pensacola avenue shop. One chic catwalk event held at her store in early March included fashionistas and some of Hawaii's hottest designers, like Project Runway's Andy South.

"We're moving in our own direction," South says about Hawaii's fashion landscape. "Not necessarily are we going to be another New York City or another L.A. or another Europe. We're going to be Hawaii's fashion evolution."

Collins and 8th just opened in July, and it's already been named Honolulu magazine's "best boutique" for 2012. Montemayor didn't let a tough economy stop her dream. "Of course, those concerns entered my mind, but I always just knew: if I wasn't going to do it now, I was never going to do it. So I just told myself: do it now."

The response from customers has been: shop-til-you-drop! "The pieces that she has is different compared to other boutiques around the island," says customer Jessica Balanay. "You can find one-of-a-kind stuff here."

As a new business owner, the Kalihi native has fresh perspective for others opening a small company. "Believe in yourself. Believe in the dream that you have, and as long as your intentions are good, everything will work out."

Good advice for any sound business model.

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