Kumu hula designs island wear to capture ‘spirit of aloha’ in Hawaii

Kumu hula designs island wear to capture ‘spirit of aloha’ in Hawaii
Kenneth "Aloha" Victor checks his Kaulua'e inventory for Merrie Monarch. (Image: Hawaii News Now) (Source: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kenneth “Aloha” Victor has taught hula for years, but more recently added sought-after fashion designer to his titles.

“We went on social media. ‘Aloha! We’d like to present another choice in Hawaiian wear. We are Kaulua’e.' I think it was in four days or five days, we sold 220 shirts. It was crazy,” said Victor.

Kaulua’e from Kailua-Kona debuted last year at Merrie Monarch. Like hula, Victor’s aloha wear honors people and places ― and tells stories.

[Here’s how to watch the Merrie Monarch Festival live on air or online]

Lehua is their most popular design.

“We can wear our lehua this way rather than in lei especially for us Hawaii island people,” said Victor, referring to the Rapid Ohia Death that has killed many trees.

He also has designs that celebrate Asian culture with Japanese prints brought back from Japan.

It sells out quickly because Victor only makes a few of each design even though clients beg for more.

Victor is proud that Kaulua’e is designed and made in Hawaii.

“Made in Hawaii is extremely important. First and foremost, it’s an aloha shirt. and it should embody that and the spirit of aloha in Hawaii,” he said.

Besides selling his designs at Merrie Monarch, his halau is competing for the first time. Where does he find the time?

“I believe that God puts us on this earth for a certain amount of time and you better go like hell,” said Victor.

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