From a quite youthful age, Sharayah Chun-Lai adored the thrill of fashion. A person of her favorite pastimes as a minimal woman was playing dress up inside her grandmother’s stylish closet and hoping on shoes. That admiration for attire led her to go after a Manner Layout and Merchandising (FDM) degree at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and start a fashionable Hawaiian-motivated clothes and life-style retail line, Ola Hou Models, in 2019.

Ola Hou layout

Just two a long time soon after beginning her custom made on the internet fashion small business, the desire phone simply call of 1000’s of designers arrived. The voice on the other finish came from the Large Apple, and invited the Hawaiʻi Island indigenous to just one of the industry’s major activities, New York Vogue 7 days.

“On Oct 6, I gained a connect with from Runway 7 Style that literally improved my everyday living,” Chun-Lai exclaimed. “This has been a aspiration of mine, and to obtain this option to showcase my styles on the runway is however so surreal for me.”

The semi-yearly New York occasion showcases fashion collections for worldwide potential buyers, key media stores, celebs and fashionistas. Chun-Lai is the initially kānaka ʻōiwi wahine (Native Hawaiian lady) to take an invitation. She quickly acquired to function planning and sketching a model new present-day line in her Keaʻau dwelling home to showcase in a single of the world’s greatest fashion gatherings in February 2022. She designs to spotlight 20 “looks” for kāne (adult men) and wāhine (women of all ages) and is functioning with a staff of Hawaiʻi Island seamstresses to entire the just one-of-a-sort garments.

Ola Hou style

“Ola Hou Designs will convey aloha to the globe, as each structure tells a tale to see, dress in and symbolize,” Chun-Lai mentioned. “Each print depicts a deeper that means than what satisfies the eye. My designs are representations of my family members, pals, tradition, everyday living and adore, intertwined collectively to generate inventive and transportive encounters, and connections with my clients.”

Chun-Lai, a Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi alumna, sees the golden possibility in the Significant Apple as a springboard for other Hawaiʻi hopefuls, much too. From dancers, musicians to types, the 27-calendar year-outdated programs to attribute a large vary of neighborhood expertise at her manner exhibit. 1 of the 19 styles set to strut down the New York Metropolis runway is UH football participant Kilohana Haasenritter, a operating back again for the Rainbow Warriors.

Crediting UH style structure program

Group of people
Ola Hou designs

Chun-Lai admits the force to provide on a grand phase creeps up from time to time. The manner industry is infamous for its severe critics and level of competition. She remembers just one of her UH manner design and style professors sharing the significance of usually becoming true to oneself and bringing special patterns to the earth. It’s classes like people that continue to strike a chord.

Before getting into FDM in the University of Tropical Agriculture and Human Sources, Chun-Lai experienced no clue how to sew a stitch. By means of her undergraduate system, she finally mastered every thing from tailoring to pattern generating. The UH alumna hopes extra aspiring designers will figure out the worthwhile prospects here in the Aloha Point out.

Woman with bag
Ola Hou style and design

“You never normally have to search in other places to review trend,” she described. “We have a terrific method right here in Hawaiʻi where by you understand all factors of the trend field from astounding professors. My encounter that I had attending the Style Style and Merchandising plan helped to steer me into the ideal path and I can say that I’m dwelling evidence that you can stay dwelling, here in Hawaiʻi, make a degree and make a profession of your extremely possess.”

Chun-Lai will choose a team of 45 community experts with her to NYC, and to assist go over an estimated $100,000 for airfare, lodging and costs to showcase her selection at Sony Hall, the budding entrepreneur is trying to find partnerships and sponsorships. For much more information and facts go to the Ola Hou Types web site.

When asked what lies at the coronary heart of her enthusiasm for trend, the young designer answered, her 4-yr-outdated daughter Emsley. She’s identified to show to her minimal lady that nearly anything can be reached by means of following your enthusiasm, difficult operate and effort and hard work. Younger Emsley is established to make an look at mom’s large show and is fast paced rehearsing her model strut down Chun-Lai’s hallway.

Three people
Sharayah Chun-Lai with her ʻohana.

This effort is an case in point of UH Mānoa’s purpose of Enhancing College student Good results (PDF), a person of 4 goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Prepare (PDF), up to date in December 2020.