Culture and fashion are Kanani Miner’s passions. For as long as she can remember, it is something she was always interested in. It has been a long journey, and not always easy, but through blood, sweat, and tears, she has persevered.
“This is what I love to do,” said Miner. “It’s what I’m truly passionate about. When I see someone in my clothing, it is the most rewarding feeling! I’ve been doing this for about eight years now and that feeling never gets old.”
After graduating from Ke Kula Kaiapuni ‘O Ānuenue, Miner attended Honolulu Community College’s Fashion Technology Program, completing her studies in 2007. She got her start by creating custom belts that she would sew and then hand-paint with her own creative designs. One of the buckles she crafted has become Hina’s logo. Miner’s goal was always to draw and create original Hawaiian prints.
“I got a humble start,” smiled Miner. “And OHA has been supportive from the beginning. Alice (OHA’s Digital and Print Media Manager) visited me from when I sold my products out of my grandma’s garage till I fulfilled my dreams and opened my first storefront.”
Miner opened her storefront at the Aloha Tower Marketplace in December 2019. She wanted a storefront for quite some time and Aloha Tower provided her with a wonderful opportunity in early 2019, offering Hina Hawaiʻi a corner location that they had picked out just for her.
“Honestly, I wanted my store to be a home for my customers. It is a family brand, so I wanted a place where families could come together and try on the matching lines,” she said.
Miner has been releasing new collections about once or twice a year, while releasing new styles along the way. She puts a lot of thought into each line, drawing inspiration from stories relating to her ‘ohana and moʻolelo Hawaiʻi. From there, she hand-draws her prints, creates her own styles, and manufactures her clothing locally.
“Each one of my lines, each piece of clothing, is so personal to me. It’s my baby. I work with a team that sews each piece here on-island.”
Miner had been gearing up to release her newest collection just prior to Merrie Monarch, but the coronavirus crisis put a damper on things, as it has for many local businesses. Instead, she released her Kaʻahupahau Collection on her website, www.hinahawaii.com. Visitors to her website may also read about the moʻolelo for the collection online on the shop page. She continues to take online orders, and also schedules appointments online for those who would like to visit her store. She will continue to update customers on her store reopening through social media and her website.
“Over the years, sewing production in Hawaiʻi has become a dying trade. I hope that after life begins to return to normal, everyone will support local businesses. For people like us, we’re trying to keep it alive, and it means the world to us. I am so grateful to my customers, family and friends for all the love and support over the years.”