Releasing exclusively in-store and online this Saturday, September 17 at 11am HST.
Photo: John Hook for FLUX Hawaii
As some of you may be aware, we recently had the honor of collaborating with FLUX Hawaii on a premium New Era strapback made exclusively for their General Store pop-up venture, which had a short stay in LA last week and is now currently residing in NYC until September 17. While most of the hats are being sold at the General Store, we managed to secure a limited amount for our local and online customers, releasing this Saturday.
The FITTED for FLUX Hawaii Strapback utilizes New Era’s Golfer silhouette and features a wool base with premium leather front patch and back strap, along with brass eyelets and buckle and black embroidery throughout. The undervisor and sweatband feature a classic and vibrant aloha print as a nice contrast to the upper.
Along with the FITTED for FLUX Hawaii Strapback, we will be releasing new colors in both of our premium cut-and-sew tops: the Basin Premium Tee and the High Point Short-Sleeve Button Shirt. The Basin Premium Tee features all the details from the past releases, but this time with a white body and a triangular DPICT Camo gusset on the back. The High Point Short-Sleeve Button Shirt is done in black this time around, with the same custom specs and details as our previous releases.
Please be sure to check out the great FLUX Hawaii article below, in which Lisa Yamada talked story with Ola about growing up, the FITTED brand, and everything in-between.
FITTED for Success
This year, FLUX Hawaii collaborated with FITTED to create an exclusive hat for the General Store. We talked with co-owner Keola Naka‘ahiki Rapozo about the importance of infusing culture into everything he does.
For more than a decade, under their brand FITTED, Keola Naka‘ahiki Rapozo and Rene Matthyssen have used hats and other printed merchandise as vessels for weaving together stories of place-based Hawaiian history with representations of what it’s like growing up in Hawai‘i now. For Rapozo, FITTED, with which FLUX Hawaii collaborated to create an exclusive hat for its General Store, goes beyond just making apparel—it transmits culture. “I always wanted to create a uniform for Hawai‘i, that wherever you see us in the world, you would know us by what we wear,” says Rapozo, who worked in design at Tori Richard for five years before starting FITTED. “I wanted for people to be so proud of where they come from.” Here, Rapozo breaks down the inspiration behind his brand and discusses the current creative scene in Hawai‘i and its future.
On growing up in Kahalu‘u:
There’s a certain moral value that you get at an early age growing up in Hawai‘i. Like if you get caught stealing something at the store and your mom is not around, your auntie going scold you, guarantee. My parents kept me rooted, but I also had friends that were knuckleheads. But I never wanted to be a rebel. I figured out early on we could clean our neighbor’s banana patch, and he would give us $10. Boom, we’d climb over the mountain to Temple Valley Chop Sui and buy a two-choice plate, then go to Goodie Corner and get candy.
On the art of the craft:
My parents had a business where we would go to craft fairs, and they would task my sister and I to collect kamani and kukui nuts in Kahalu‘u Valley, where we lived, to make these arts and craft pieces. We’d make mini ipu heke, puihiwe, makini. Every Saturday morning, I was stuck cleaning kamani nuts.
On FITTED’s design process:
When we start a design, whether it’s a hat, T-shirt, or an overall collection, we go through a four-step protocol. The first two deal with look and construction—is this product handsome, why is it handsome? The third deals with kauna, or the hidden meaning behind the symbols. The fourth is makawalu, or to look at things with eight eyes, to have a sense of everything, that there are infinite ways of uncovering meaning. Our graphic, “Easy Easy,” for example, brings me back to a time and a place, specifically in the ’80s, going to Pay and Save—those who know Kahalu‘u, they know Pay and Save—and everybody talked on CB radio. It brings back this feeling of that time, that real innocence, of being a kid hanging out in these parking lots.
On the biggest difficulty facing designers in Hawai‘i:
The fact that we’re in the middle of the ocean. Exposure, content—meaning, some people in the world might not understand what you’re doing. In fact, I’d say that, right off the bat, they won’t understand it. It’s very hard to get over that hump. You have to really dig deep and find something that transcends. Why is somebody from New York, Atlanta, or Houston going to believe in what a brand in Hawai‘i is doing?
On the appropriation of Hawai‘i as a brand:
This place has given me everything that I have, and I want to just represent her in the best way. I don’t feel people have her best interest in mind. Sometimes people just want to come and take a vacation, and Hawai‘i is not really about taking anything. Look at poke, it’s becoming appropriated all over the world. Poke, like aloha, is becoming just a word. Words like aloha mean so much to so many people. I want people to feel that word again. Ah-lo-ha. The breath. … At the same time, I’m conflicted because we made an “aloha” hat, and it was one of our best-selling graphics. How do you balance that? How do you continue to promote these beautiful mo‘olelo, or stories, without having to give up this intellectual property? It’s all about how you set your intent and being righteous with it.
I’m guilty of chasing dollars, chasing sales, ideas … but in Hawaiian culture, to be wealthy is called wai wai—the closer you are to wai (water), the wealthier you are. We have two of the most saturated places in the world, an infinite amount of pure water on Kaua‘i and Maui. Right now, California has zero water. Think about that. That represents so much wealth, that you can grow your own food, sustain yourself, control your own destiny with your own wai. We have all the answers, just the questions are wrong.
On the secret to success:
The secret is that there is no secret. People fall short because they don’t think that it’s possible, or don’t want to work hard enough. I’m up at 6 a.m. doing emails. I’m up until 1 at night doing designs. I will do whatever it takes to get to the next level, and that has been one of my biggest ‘ano, or characteristic traits, that I’ve been able to see through all the other shit. Through my entire career, I just willed myself, took whatever little time that I had, mixed that with passion and focus, and that’s what created this.