October 24, 2015
The Hawaii Japanese Center (HJC) run by Arnold and Eloise Hiura is a private, non-profit organization located at 751 Kanoelehua Avenue in Hilo, Hawaii. This center helps to preserve and share the history and culture of Japan so that people can learn about the sacrifices and contributions that Japanese and other immigrants made to society.
One of the annual fundraisers held by HJC is a fashion show featuring the fashions and designs of Oahu-based fashion designer, Anne Namba. A portion of each sale made at the trunk show after the fashion show benefits the HJC.
Namba is renowned for her use of exotic Asian silks in her original, one-of-a-kind designs, and was on hand to personally narrate the fashion show. According to the HJC website, “Friends and supporters of HJC will serve as models for Namba’s fashions, adding to the popularity and flavor of the annual event.” I am not in any way considered to be a model and I know that I don’t have the skills to rock a runway. Last year though, I was somehow convinced to be one of the models for the show. I believe that my participation probably adds to the comedic flavor of the show so despite my misgivings about putting myself on the stage again, I sacrificed my ego and agreed to model for the second year in a row. I just make sure to have fun, enjoy the experience, and relish wearing the fabulous Anne Namba designs while supporting HJC and its mission.
Some awesome Hilo people joined me in this fun Saturday activity. The ladies pictured above (from left to right) are Nathlie Nakagawa, Kanoe Arai (my former student), Yuko Kakazu, Katie Yamanaka, designer Anne Namba, me, Kea Keolanui, Tammy Molina, and Hiroko Yoshida. The men are UHH student Satoshi Aiko and Hilo’s famous singing salesman, Hiroshi Suga. This group of “models” walked the runway to a full house at the Hawaii Japanese Center.
This year, Namba introduced to Hilo her latest “Red Dragons” silk print, “Dancing Fans” silk print, “Ginko Leaves” silk print, and items from her “Texture & Tones” collection, which incorporates kimono and obi material, along with many items from her annual 50 percent off sale.
I have loved Anne Namba fashions since 2003 when I first visited her shop (when she was still located in Manoa) to look for an outfit in which to get married. I chose a white bustier made out of a vintage obi and paired it with a flowy palazzo pant. During that same visit, I also fell in love with a black and gold obi bustier and in true Anne Chung fashion, I ended up buying both bustiers. This picture of me with the black and gold bustier was from Halloween 2014–do I look a little vampire-ish?
Over the years, I’ve been VERY slowly adding to my Anne Namba collection and am lucky to be part of this event in Hilo. Truth be told, however, I’d much rather admire the fabulous designs from the audience. In the end though, having a good time with friends, wearing fabulous fashions–Living Hilo Style.