09 Jun '08


Posted by admin

Growing up in the early eighties, I got to experience the Hawaiian resurgence first hand. Spending summers at the Reppun’s farm learning to work the Lo'i fields. Fishing, hunting, learning to make 'Ulu maika and spears for games, how an imu works, and most importantly how sacred our culture is. Now that I am grown and have been able to travel, I look back at those important years with fond memories of a culture that I truly love and respect.
It was about 1984 or so when my parents started a business called Mana'olana Crafts and decided to try their hands at Hawaiian arts. My step dad was a historian of Hawaiian craftsmanship and had this idea to hand make traditional Hawaiian artifacts as miniature ornaments. The Pū'illi (bamboo rattles for Hula dance), Ipu heke (Gourd drums with a top section for hula), Lomi sticks (massage sticks), hair picks and ‘Umeke made of Koa. But the piece that I enjoyed making the most was the mākini helmets. My parents would make my sister and I hand pick kamani nuts, take them home to clean and sand so they can begin the construction. We used kamani nut as the base, ‘uki grass on the top (later replaced it with Feathers) and raffia in place of the kapa. After months of preparations we would pack up all our work in the Volkswagen van and hit the craft fair circuit. If you were around in the early to mid 80's then you’d know how big the craft fairs were.

This leads me to our latest FITTED release. “Makini” in Hawaiian means a group of spears tied together, used as a battering ram in war. It also has a meaning of many deaths; death dealing. There are 2 different stories of what these gourd masks were actually used for. One popular belief was that the helmets were worn by a secret warrior society entrusted with the protection of the highest ali’i (chiefs) of ancient Hawaii. With this theory, it is said that the crest was made out of ‘uki (or a tough sedge). The term “ikaika” (which translates to ‘strong’) became popular in the early-mid 80’s when A brand called Master Graphics and another brand called Hawaiian Strength ran t-shirt's with the word Ikaika Warrior and a muscular figure wearing a gourd mask.

Even to this day, you may see these hanging from a rear view mirror as an ornamental piece, or worn as a necklace. The other story is that the mākini were worn by moʻo Lono (the Lono priests) as part of their ceremonies for the Makahiki season. This goes along with all the theories of Captain Cook being perceived as Lono returning to the islands, as depicted in John Webber’s painting (refer to picture) of a canoe full of mo’o Lono, in which one of the priests appears to be holding a statue of the God Lono. According to Hawaiian mythology, Lono (who is one of the four main deities, amongst Kū, Kāne and Kanaloa) was a God of peace. However, Both theories could be tested due to the fact that this was prior to any contact with Western culture, and before Hawaiians had learned to read and write. It is not known whether this event in the aforementioned painting was at the start of a war, or the beginning or ending of the annual Makahiki (a festival in which work and war were kapū).

It is now 2008 and we wanted to use our platform to educate people through our medium. We take design very serious and hope that all of you appreciate the details that we put into this hat. To start off, the overall look of the hat is tough. The front embroidery is where the gourd would have been cut out for the eyes. Around the base of the whole hat is a water based tattoo print to signify strength. The bill has embroidery of strings that would have been the place for the kapa. On the crown of the hat is intricate feather embroidery that has taken the place of the ‘uki grass. With the old tradition we added some modern elements like the triangle satin lining and on the under bill we have built upon the dual theories with this olelo No'eau. " Pupukahi i holomua" which translates to: "UNITE TO MOVE FORWARD” and to break it down: "BY WORKING TOGETHER WE MAKE PROGRESS".

This drop consists of the Makini hat, along with a matching white long sleeve t-shirt and a red short sleeve t-shirt. Both tees feature the same feather pattern seen on the hat on the backside of the each shirt. The long sleeve has a tribal tattoo pattern up and down each sleeve and the short sleeve has the same pattern running from bottom seam to arm pit.

Release date June 11th Kamehameha Day Holiday at 11am
Phone orders will be taken from 1pm on until supplies last.

Mahalo for your time…

Big Mahalo's to Big Cuzzo Garrison, Baba & Keone, The Noyles, And everyone else who made this project possible.