Aloha Modern - 'Ilima Pareo

Mo‘olelo (Storytelling) 

In the story of travels by Hi‘iakaikapoliopele, there is a mo‘olelo in which the goddess Hi‘iaka watches young wahine diving into the sea on the ‘Ewa coast, all of them wearing garlands of bright yellow ‘ilima flowers, their lei dazzling against the crystal blue ocean. The hardy indigenous shrub is characterized by silvery heart-shaped leaves and shiny dime-sized blossoms. It belongs to the hibiscus family and grows wild in hot, dry environments. It was the flower of choice for leis by ali‘i, or Hawaiian Royalty, but these flower adornments took nearly 500-1000 flowers to complete a single lei strand. The five-petaled variety was said to be a favorite of Queen Emma and would often be seen to be the preferred flower of the Kamehameha butterfly. Other varieties of ‘ilima were used as a source of medicine by ‘ōiwi to cure general debility, womb disorders, and asthma.

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

100% rayon - 70"x43"

About the Artist

Designed in collaboration with Malia Heimuli, a fine artist based in Koʻolaupoko, Oʻahu. Inspired by her experiences in mālama ʻāina, her artwork focuses on showcasing native species, wahi pana, and their importance in Hawaiʻi. Through various types of fine art mediums, especially line drawings and block printing, her art shares her love of native plants and animals.

Details

  • Size: 65" x 42"

About Aloha Modern

reyn mukawa malia ka‘aihue aloha modern

It was a winning combination of creative conversations during pau hana, ingenuity and a desire to honor the culture of Hawaiʻi that Aloha Modern came to be. The designs of the brand’s products from its beach towels to bedsheets are inspired by the stars, ocean and landscapes–as seen from an island-rooted perspective. Through their brand, founders Mālia Kaʻaihue and Reyn Mukawa offer products that can be used in daily life, but have the heart of an heirloom. The duo’s prints authentically share island stories, honor the past, all while offering a genuine product for generations to come. 

By day, Kaʻaihue is president of DTL, a strategy, design, and communication studio grounded in Hawaiian culture. The architecture firm, where Mukawa works, specializes in environmentally and culturally appropriate designs that add value to the community. Aloha Modern began as a creative project for Kaʻaihue and Mukawa to dive into after their day jobs. However, the ethos of their work—to develop and foster authentic Hawaiʻi stories—pulses through the heart of their shared business. 

The brand started with bags and round towels as its owners found that locals sought something that was more in line with their taste and not designed for tourists. Aloha Modern designs are intimate, as its founders say they design for their families. While Aloha Modern inspiration remains close to home, the genuine reflection of local culture is an aspect of its brand that has attracted other international markets. Today, the company has even earned a significant interest from customers in Japan. 

Within the last four years, Ka‘aihue and Mukawa’s collaboration has led to a thriving lifestyle brand. Apparent in its prints, the original desire of Aloha Modern's founders has materialized. These days, their line of products includes apparel, beach blankets, towels, bedsheets and totes. Each item on Aloha Modern's shop is accompanied by amoʻolelo (story) in the product description, which explains the meaning behind the item’s name and design.

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