Releasing in-store and online this Saturday, November 14th at 11am HST.
“Wai” is the Hawaiian word for “water,” which we all know is essential for life. The word “waiwai” is a duplication of “wai” and it means wealth, riches, and abundance. In the minds of our Hawaiian ancestors, when you had abundance of fresh water via a river or a spring, it meant you were very wealthy because you had access to a source of life.
Unfortunately, the idea of being wealthy in our present society has nothing to do with having a rich supply of water or flourishing crops. It’s all about the money, along with the greed and corruption that comes hand in hand. With our Holiday 2015 Collection, we wanted to temporarily erase the current ideologies of wealth and remind ourselves of a simpler time in Hawaiʻi’s history, where wealth was based more on life, health, and thriving culture.
Traveling back to about the 16th century—long before western contact and before Kamehameha I unified the islands under one rule—we arrive at Kūkaniloko in Līhuʻe (now known as Wahiawā), the most sacred birthing site for Oʻahu’s highest aliʻi. It is here that the great Kākuhihewa was born, becoming the 15th aliʻi ʻaimoku (ruling chief, or more literally “the chief who can eat anywhere”) of Oʻahu. He was born into the Lo Aliʻi class, which was reserved for chiefs of royal blood, the most precious aliʻi class of them all. He would also be the last king to be born at Kūkaniloko, foreshadowing a very special monarch to come. Out of the 27 aliʻi ʻaimoku that laid claim to Oʻahu, what makes Kākuhihewa’s story so noteworthy is the abundance of life and wealth that arose during his long reign.
He was heralded throughout the eight Hawaiian islands, providing a time of peace and prosperity with no war or rebellion in sight. His reign brought ʻāina momona (bountiful and fertile land)—water was plentiful, crops flourished, and food was in unlimited supply. This resulted in a healthier and therefore wealthier community, which contributed to a thriving Hawaiian population. Historian Samuel Kamakau put it best when he said “He lani i luna, he hōnua i lalo,” which translates to “it was fertile in the uplands, fertile in the lowlands” during Kākuhihewa’s reign, basically saying that between the heaven above and the earth below, Kākuhihewa had everything under control. It is said that they even starting calling the island “Oʻahu a Kākuhihewa” to honor their great king.
One of the famous stories about Kākuhihewa’s reign was the tale of his encounter with Kaʻauhelemoa, a mythical moa (chicken) that flew near his feet while he was playing makahiki games in Waikīkī. As the moa landed, he scratched at the ground and disappeared. Kākuhihewa took this as a sign of fertile land and had a niu (coconut) tree planted in that exact spot. The story goes on to say that one tree quickly grew into 10,000 niu trees. The area was then appropriately named “Helumoa” which means “chicken scratch.”
Our Holiday 2015 Waiwai Collection honors the great Kākuhihewa and his reign that brought peace, prosperity, and wealth to the Hawaiian people. The release also coincides with makahiki season in ancient Hawaiʻi, a peaceful four-month period every year that was filled with sports, dancing, and feasting to celebrate Lono, the god associated with fertility, agriculture, rainfall, and peace. This inspired the sports theme we chose for this collection, with new logos and designs that also help manifest the “Waiwai” concept. The aesthetic inspiration for the collection comes from vintage baseball and football uniforms, utilizing classic materials and colors to bring the concept to life.
Kākuhihewa Chiefs Snapback
For the first release of this collection, we’re introducing a new logo created to honor Kākuhihewa’s rule over Oʻahu and the other aliʻi that presided there, hence the initials KC for Kākuhihewa Chiefs. A chenille ihe laumeke (spear) crosses the initials to reference old Hawaiian weaponry. The moniker “City of Chiefs” on the back is an ode to the city of Honolulu, part of Kākuhihewa’s kingdom along with the chiefs that came before and after him. It also refers to the fact that the central government of the state of Hawaiʻi resides in Honolulu today. The base of the hat is black melton wool, with a multicolored KC logo on the front and the New Era logo and crown embroideries on the sides in tonal black. Around back a red crest tag is seen next to the white snap enclosure, with “City of Chiefs” embroidered above in white.
RBI Tee – Black / Women’s Racerback Tank – Heather Black
A new logo tee presents itself for the Waiwai Collection. It features arched slab lettering with yellow and red outlines for a sporty vibe, while a yellow crown is seen on the upper back. The standard tee features the 10 year label stitched on the lower right front.