NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK (HawaiiNewsNow) - Manaola Yap, the founder and designer of Manaola Hawaii, is making history as the first Native Hawaiian to debut an entire exclusive runway collection, complete with hula and other traditional protocols, at New York Fashion Week 2017.
"I am honored and grateful to have been invited to show my collection at New York Fashion Week," Yap said. "Sharing our indigenous culture through the medium of fashion on a world platform has always been a dream of mine. I'm proud to share our Hawaiian fashion culture that encompasses centuries of intellect and visual imagery captured in design."
It's an honor confirmed by Hawaii's Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.
Yap is one of just 24 designers selected from 8,000 people worldwide by Oxford Fashion Studio to share his original designs at New York Fashion Week 2017.
Yap will present his runway collection -- complete with 39 different looks -- on Friday, Sept. 8, and Hawaii News Now will stream the entire fashion show on Facebook.
Yap founded his company just two years ago and credits his quick rise within the local fashion industry to the many other Hawaii designers who paved the way before him and a growing demand for culturally conscious clothing.
"At this moment, I've been totally reflecting on gratitude," he said. "That's where I like to come from all the time, and thinking of all the wonderful inspirations that I've had in my life and all the people that have supported me and supported the creation of what I've become today, and that's really where I'd like to leave my Hawaii -- is with a lot of gratitude and with hopes to take all of these wonderful inspirations, mentors and kupuna, definitely, and family and really mahalo them," said Yap.
Yap isn't the first Native Hawaiian to appear at New York Fashion Week. Both Kini Zamora and Ari South presented pieces in a Project Runway show in the past. Both designers competed in the reality TV show and have been trailblazers in the fashion industry at home and around the world.
Hawaii News Now will be exclusively covering Manaola's New York Fashion Week journey on air, online and streaming on mobile.