Sig Zane’s distinctive graphics at HONOLULU Fashion Week.

Interview by Robbie Dingeman

HONOLULU Magazine is honored to be working again this year with Hilo-based designer Sig Zane, who lent his distinctive touch to the look of HONOLULU Fashion Week.

Zane featured the design element of ‘ohe kāpala, associated with dressing for hula. He explains that the visual takeaway of hula extends beyond the motion of the dance to the entire package. “The geometric designs on the costuming are symbols illustrating the chant, reiterating story line,” he explains. “As the decorated kapa once provided the fashion statements of our islands, it is appropriate to push this art style into our modern industry. We believe relevancy is important in all that we put out.”

When the company began making clothes decades ago, the team’s mission was to educate and increase awareness of native plants. “We haven’t strayed far,” Zane says. “I believe we have evolved from a simple aesthetic approach of native plants into a more complex native perspective that we apply to just about any medium.”

Now Zane’s designs can now be found emblazoned on aloha shirts, airplanes and more. As a practitioner of hula and its associated arts, he digs deeper. “Working with the land and practicing traditions provides foundation and perspective relevancy to the art we create for everything,” Zane says.

You and your son Kūha‘o have been cited as an important fashion leader in the last three decades. Thoughts?

“We really never thought ourselves as a leader in fashion, simply because our approach is so organic, and basically reflective of the moment. The connection to our graphics represents the DNA of our islands and that acknowledgement.”

What do you think of recent fashion developments, from your collabs to the broader scene? 

“Our collaborations have definitely exposed us to a broader audience!  If and when we connect, the visual narratives have a greater reach therefore allowing our culture practices to permeate farther. We seek experiences that will enrich our perspectives but at the same time, it’s gotta be mutual.”

Tags:2015 Sig Zane

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