This lei collection evolved into so much more than I could have imagined. From what I thought would be a one time design, it quickly developed into an entire creation.
The first piece in the collection was Na Lei o Hawaii, the design called Lei Poinaole. We talked about the lei to be included and both Emily and I learned that not all the lei were plants native to Hawaii! But these were definitely beloved lei of Hawaii - it had lei aalii, pakalana, hala, ilima, wiliwili, pikake and maile in it.
The design actually ended up a little "red heavy" which was fine so I remember asking Emily if she could do another design that had more greens and we talked about having a design that was all native plants. I have to say it, Emily is amazing as an artist and person, she really dove into this design and researched the native plants. The second design, Lei Omaomao, featured lei painiu, maile, hinahina, olapa, palapalai and mokihana in it.
The popularity of this collection exploded and what went from a one time run print turned into so much more. I value the nature of a true collab. These prints were so beautiful and I couldn't possibly offer all the products so many of you wished for. I wanted to stay in the realm of all things keiki and Emily had the flexibility to do other products. I am so grateful she agreed to continue this collab, with both of us offering products that complement each other in this collection.
When I was pregnant with Mehana, there was a lot going on. Mehana wasn't our rainbow baby but she was born during a time I feel like there was a resurgence of Hawaiian pride, an increase in awareness of issues Hawaiians and other native peoples face, and then the pandemic. Rather than focus on the negativity that surrounded this time, I wanted a design that captured love and aloha, one that brought light in a time of darkness. When talking to Emily about the concept of this design, I told her I wanted it to be colorful...To me, color always brings that feeling of happiness, something we all need during the tough year of 2020. What started off as colors representing the islands (yes I know, not really "Hawaiian" but something that many of us grow up learning in school here for May Day) bloomed into this beautiful rainbow of colors, the Lei Anuenue design. Hidden in this design is an olelo noeau (Hawaiian proverb), by Mary Kawena Pukui, that I kept coming across as Emily and I spoke about adding one
"Ua ao Hawaii ke olino nei malamalama."
Hawaii is enlightened, for the brightness of day is here. Olelo Noeau #2773. The lei in this design features: ohia Lehua, ilima, kaunaoa, maile and mokihana, hinahina, and ukiuki.
Stay tuned for the final piece of the collection....Lei Maile