By Natalie Schack

When it comes to the jungle, we’re all about going wild and throwing the rule book out the window. We're meat eaters, but we mingle with leaf eaters. We don't discriminate between feather or fur. And we really don't believe in choosing between stripes and spots.

Locally based Avela is on the same page with its gorgeous, internationally sourced pieces that are anything but tame. Earlier this year, we caught up with owners Ali Bayless and Gadea Pérez-Andújar, who work in the science field by day and build their budding fashion empire in the off-hours, just before a buying trip to Morocco. Now they’re back, stocked with new goods that break the Avela mold, and are ready to expand into new territory by conquering HONOLULU Fashion Week as a new Marketplace designer.

Fans of Avela’s boho-meets-beach brand of woven basket bags and pareos will be able to score these favorites at the duo’s Marketplace booth, but what’s really got our predatorial instincts buzzing are the hot new statement pieces they’ll be toting. Think a pom-pom-lined straw bag that is as on-trend as it is flirty and fun. Add a sassy dash of rainbow color to a breezy summer dress with it, and you’ll be the most tropicool gal on the sand. In classic Avela fashion, the ladies also managed to scoop up jewelry pieces that really have a story to tell: Their new silver and glass earrings are from a central Sahara tribe and feature a cross talisman that, in the culture, is often passed from father to son and used to guide shepherds through the desert.

The main attraction, though? The drop-dead-gorgeous Jamila purse. Hand-engraved by Berber men from the mountains of Morocco, these unbelievable statement masterpieces sport a silver-plated or brass shell  and a woven Spanish-cotton handle in various colors. With a sleek curvature of a silhouette and an antique-metallic sheen that’s sure to catch eyes, these artisanal piece are totally unique, rule-breaking little gems perfect for any wild child’s wardrobe.

At least, that’s what our animal instincts say.

$30–$64, at the HONOLULU Fashion Week Marketplace, Thursday, Nov. 10, 5–9 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 11, 11 a.m.–9 p.m.; and Saturday, Nov. 12, 11 a.m.–9 p.m. at the Hawai‘i Convention Center. Learn more at

Tags:2016 Avela HONOLULU Fashion Week Hawaii Convention Center Marketplace Hawaiian Airlines

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