Our Story

Continuing the legacy of creating quality while balancing history and innovation...


Our `IOLANI Story begins in 1953…

When my parents started `IOLANI they never thought their unique island based business would become a global entity. Even as their men’s line set the fashion trend in Hawaii, they were still humbled and honored to see their `IOLANI shirts being worn by US Presidents, international movie stars and just about every local man in Hawai'i.


When I took over the business in mid-1980, women’s island fashions began to flourish. Using island prints, designs, and textures, the women’s fashion industry exploded in Hawaii. `IOLANI expanded its repertoire to embrace women’s fashions with an island twist. Muu muu (a Hawaiian traditional long dress), pant suits and dresses were designed and locally sewn in island motifs on globally sourced textiles. In 2005, I began to venture out of the offices of `IOLANI, to join my sons, Nick and Alex, on stage with our band ManoaDNA. While I was off touring the world, my wife Carla, stepped in to run `IOLANI. Carla insured `IOLANI never missed a beat on the island fashion scene. In 2010, we opened `IOLANI on Kona Street, our first retail store in Kaka’ako, Honolulu.


This flagship store has put `IOLANI in a position to design for a more discerning customer. The perfect storm of new contemporary trends, a retail store and the popularity of ManoaDNA, insured that `IOLANI on Kona Street became a primary shopping spot for visitors and local shoppers. In early 2012, global retailer UNIQLO approached us to collaborate on an international level. We took great pride in seeing over 3,000,000 pieces of the `IOLANI X UNIQLO collection appear on store shelves around the world. The collection sold quickly making it a huge success for both `IOLANI and UNIQLO! Taking note, SanrioUSA approached us to do a collaboration of a different type. For this collection, the `IOLANI team would take the creative lead. Prints and styles reflecting a “made in Hawaii” vibe were to be intertwined with the iconic image of Hello Kitty, creating a sophisticated fun collection of garments and accessories. This limited edition collection put ‘IOLANI onto the global fashion scene once again.


My son Alex and his wife Sarah joined the `IOLANI team in 2016. They brought with them a youthful energy, boundless creativity and a clear vision to carry us forward. In an ever evolving industry, `IOLANI must continue to strive toward new goals. `IOLANI is introducing a fresh new look and logo. Owned by one family and operated by a strong team of designers and creators, we have always found a way to keep ourselves ahead of the curve. My Mom and Dad had a vision to create a unique island based business. I am so proud to say that their vision melds with current global market trends. We are on a strong path to yet a 7 th decade and we hope you will come along with us for the ride!

Lloyd Kawakami