Island Wise

When color goes missing, one woman finds her palette.
Image: Courtesy H&K

Hunnelle Ediza-Trenery, of H & K Handbags says her earliest memory of making something was a childhood playhouse made out of coconut palm leaves when she was a girl living in the Philippines.

“I was probably about five or six years old,” she says, “[and] when I got a bit older, maybe seven or eight, I started adding windows to my houses . . . the windows opened upwards and I would keep it open by bracing it with a stick . . . I opened a store and sold rocks, wrapped with my candy wrappers collection.”

And her cousin sold mud pies.

From there, Trenery moved on to sewing. “I started out by sewing pockets into my skirts, using an old singer powered by using your feet to move the paddle that moved the needle . . . Yup! No electricity cord anywhere on that cast-iron machine.”

Today she makes Parisian-influenced handbags, but these aren’t your “Let’s have a purse party” purses, they’re extraordinarily crafted bags, lined with beautiful, intensely colored fabrics. Travel bags, gym bags, large purses, or that famously international bag known as the Weekender, as well as clutches and coin bags, can be found on her website.

But if buying online isn’t your thing, then make an effort to check out the next Arts Fest at Kapiolani Park (Sept. 22 and 23), where her bags are on display within the kaleidoscope of the festival’s vendors. Or visit HiFi at Ward Center, or better yet, her studio in Kapolei. When you meet her, you may learn that she was in the Army Reserves, that she loved serving her country, and that it was returning home from deployment in Iraq when she realized how badly she missed seeing . . . color.

These bags are special. Worth every stitch, worth every cent.

H&K Handbags, 92-115 Kohi Place, Kapolei, Mon.–Fri. 10am–7pm, Sat.–Sun. 11am–6pm, $45–$140, email [email: hunnelle], visit [], 387-8846