By: Lennie Omalza
Photo: David Croxford


Kini Zamora, local designer and Project Runway All Star, continues to wow Hawaiʻi’s fashion industry, while still making time to help others. On Wednesday, Nov. 9, he will be giving Islanders a sneak peek of his Spring/Summer 2017 collection at Fashion in Paradise, a benefit gala for Reach the Runway (RTR). And since he’s such a big supporter of RTR and growing the local fashion community, we asked him for nuts-and-bolts advice for aspiring designers.

HONOLULU Magazine: What kind of equipment or materials do you recommend for designers that are just starting out?
Kini Zamora: Start off with something small. A Bernina sewing machine is great. It’s one of the best home sewing machines, and it lasts a long time. As for fabric, the best thing is going online and asking for swatches. Companies will be more than willing to send you a bunch of swatches. It’s great to build a relationship with those online companies; being in Hawaiʻi, that’s often the only way you can get wholesale prices.

H: How does someone new to the fashion industry network and get their name out?
KZ: Networking in the community here is all about going to fashion events in Hawaiʻi. There are a ton of fashion events that happen. Get involved with all of the events—know when they are and show up. There’s Honolulu Night Market, Art After Dark, HONOLULU Fashion Week—there are things happening every single weekend; attending those events is the best way to network with other fashion designers and people in the industry. It’s not just about meeting other fashion designers—it’s the hair and makeup people, the photographers, the editors, the stylists—it’s about getting to know everyone in the fashion industry.

H: How can fashion designers find inspiration for their pieces?
KZ: For me, how I find my inspiration varies every season. Sometimes it’s a mood; sometimes it’s an object. It’s about clearing your mind and finding what sparks your interest. It could be an object, or even just a color that that keeps popping up in your mind over several months. Those are the things that you really want to nurture when building your collection. If I think about something more than once, I print it out and put it on my inspiration board.


Want to see more of Kini Zamora’s style, meet his team and do some shopping after HONOLULU Fashion Week? Visit his studio in Hālawa or go online:

99-1132 Iwaena Street, 2nd Floor
(808) 721-6220


Kini Zamora will also showcase pieces from his Fall/Winter 2016 Collection on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 2 p.m. during HONOLULU Fashion Week. Proceeds from ticket sales will go toward Reach the Runway, HONOLULU Fashion Week’s official nonprofit. Click here to purchase tickets.


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