The nine channels that connect the islands of our pae ‘āina each have unique names and characteristics. The ʻAlenuihāhā (great billows smashing) Channel separates Hawai‘i and Maui. The ʻAlalākeiki (crying baby) Channel separates the islands of Kahoʻolawe and Maui. The Kealaikahiki Channel is the channel between Lāna‘i and Kahoʻolawe. It literally means "the road to Tahiti" and it was thought if one takes a bearing off Kealaikahiki Point on Kahoʻolawe the channel faces Tahiti. The ʻAuʻau Channel is one of the most protected areas of ocean in the Hawaiian Islands, lying between Lānaʻi and Maui. ʻAuʻau translates to "to take a bath" referring to its calm bath-like conditions. The Pailolo Channel separates the islands of Molokaʻi and Maui, named after the crazy fishermen who would dare to traverse these rough waters. The Kalohi (the slowness) Channel is the stretch of water separating Lānaʻi and Molokaʻi. The Kaiwi (the bone) Channel separates the islands of O‘ahu and Moloka‘i. The Kaʻieʻie Waho Channel separates the islands of Kauaʻi and Oʻahu. Kaʻieʻie Waho means "Outer Kaʻieʻie," named after the ʻieʻie vine. The Kaulakahi Channel separates the islands of Niʻihau and Kauaʻi, translating to "the single flame” representative of the streaks of sunset colors.
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.