Fashion in Paradise Gala
Save the Date: Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Join us for an evening of Fashion in Paradise to kick off HONOLULU Fashion Week 2016 and celebrate Hawai‘i’s local fashion industry and designers. Elevate your aloha attire and come dressed to impress wearing palaka, pearls, haku lei, heels, or any expression of your personal paradise.


Reach the Runway is the official nonprofit of HONOLULU Fashion Week presented by Hawaiian Airlines. It is a program of the aio Foundation and presented in partnership with Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui’s REACH Out Hawai‘i Initiative. In its second year the program continues to inspire and support Hawai‘i's youth, by creating mentorship opportunities for O‘ahu middle school students who are interested in the realm of fashion, including journalism, photography, fashion design, magazine design, hair and makeup, styling and modeling. In addition to expanding students’ technical skills in specific fields, the program will nurture students’ confidence, determination and passion for their future endeavors.

Executive co-directors Stacey Makiya, who is also an editor at HONOLULU Magazine, and Lennie Omalza, created the program after gaining inspiration from aio chairman and CEO Duane Kurisu. “We went to Duane to ask about getting a group together to do regular volunteer work,” Omalza says. “After talking to us for about an hour, he made us really think about how we can use our passions to give back to the community. By the time we walked out of his office, the idea of Reach the Runway was born.”

The two say the long-term goal of Reach the Runway is to provide students with a broader understanding of careers in the local fashion industry, while equipping them with tools to start building their own paths in this field. Their ultimate mission is to grow the Island fashion community, so that future professionals can thrive and expand the way the world views Hawai‘i fashion. “We want these kids to believe they can have a future occupation in this field while living in Hawai‘i,” says Makiya. “We also want to help build their ambition, talent and confidence, so they can achieve success in any career they choose.”

Reach the Runway’s class of 2015 wrapped up in October. The students’ work is displayed at HONOLULU Fashion Week, and one student from each area of interest will receive a hotel stay in Honolulu, transportation to and from HONOLULU Fashion Week and reserved show seats. 

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