Joy to the Girl / When Jonatha Giddens, a UH grad student in marine biology, attended the Hawaii Conservation Conference last summer, she also found a chance to shop. “Kealopiko, one of my favorite local companies, had a booth there,” says Giddens. “Their designs all feature native Hawaiian plants and animals.” The company donates to local non-profits such as Kokua Hawaii Foundation and Mao Farms, “So I feel that by buying their clothes I’m helping to support the environment, too,” Giddens says.
She bought a black dress silk-screened with sky blue spiny sea urchins, and a blue/green pareu in a coral print. Like all Kealopiko’s apparel, they were made of certified organic cotton, and colored with low-impact dyes and water-based inks. “They’re so soft,” says the soft-spoken Giddens. “Their pareus are awesome. When I wear them to the beach, I feel like I’m really part of the nature.”
And their clothes wash and wear really well, she adds, although it must be noted that her green habit of washing in cold water and hanging dry helps conserve clothes.
Dresses, $55; women’s tees and tanks, $30-40; men’s tees and polo shirts, $35-45; keiki tees and dresses, $25-30. Bags made of scrap fabric, $45. Some pareus ($36) and the men’s aloha shirts ($75) are Hawaii-made.