Support Local: Moving into The New Year With Local Fitness & Activewear
Written by Kailanianna Ablog
Cover Photo Courtesy of Kaira Active
Hau'oli Makahiki Hou! It’s 2022 and we at Valia Honolulu are excited to embark on this new journey with you all. To kick off the new year, we’re starting a blog series called “Support Local,” where we curate a monthly list of Hawai’i-based small businesses that sell items within a specific category, such as swimwear, pet goods, and so much more!
As the current health situation continues to affect the world in various ways, we want to continue cultivating a community based on the values of shopping small and supporting local (especially BIPOC and/or women-owned brands). We hope that through this new blog series that we can introduce (or re-introduce) businesses for you all to check out and shop from this year! With the plethora of small businesses here in the islands, we may not be able to feature every single company out there, so we encourage you all to continue sharing and spreading the word about the places you shop from and love.
To start off the new year with forward motion, our first “Support Local” blog highlights Hawaii-made fitness and activewear! In no particular order, here are some (of many) amazing small, local activewear brands proudly operating here in the Hawaiian islands.
Courtesy of Kūmana Activewear; Picture from their Racerback Sports Bra listing
If you were with us last year, then this brand may sound familiar! We had the honor of working with Kūmana Activewear for our Five-Year Anniversary Giveaway and want to continue supporting this amazing business.
Kawehi, the Mana Wahine behind the wear, mentions in a blog post that her brand is a culmination of three specific aspects of her identity: fashion and business, the environment, and Hawaiian culture. Through the creation of comfortable, versatile fitness wear made from fishing nets and consumer plastics left in our oceans, Kūmana Activewear seeks to ethically educate, and protect and heal our planet.
“It is my mission to use this platform to build awareness of crucial environmental issues, create a safe space for people to learn and practice aspects of Hawaiian language and culture, all while operating a transparent and accountable business that raises the bar for what consumers should expect out of businesses,” Kawehi writes, “It is my goal to prove to the business community that for-profit companies can and should conduct business in ethical and sustainable ways, without depleting nonrenewable resources or exploiting laborers in underdeveloped parts of the world.”
With various styles of sports bras (scoopneck, v-neck and racerback) and workout pants (including biker shorts, high waist, ⅞ and full length leggings) in solid colors, Kūmana Activewear offers its wearer eco-friendly and versatile products that reflect values of aloha ʻāina, and finding strength in who you are and where you came from.
Courtesy of Kūmana Activewear; Picture from their ʻAI PŌHAKU SCOOPNECK SPORTSBRA listing
You may read more about this amazing eco-minded business via their bio below:
“Kūmana Activewear is deeply rooted in what it means to be 'āina minded. All of our fabrics are made of various recycled plastics from all over the world, like carpet fluff, plastic bottles, and fishing nets. The facilities that are part of Kūmana's supply chain are conscious of the environment every step of the way, from diverting heat generated from the manufacturing process to heat offices during the winter, to recycling water and zero waste garment production. Scraps of fabric leftover from cutting stages are gathered to make usable products like scrunches and masks, and small scraps are used as stuffing for dog and cat beds to be donated to animal shelters. Every aspect of our packaging is as environmentally-responsible as we could get, using only what packaging Hawai'i's waste management can handle. In other words, all of our packaging is home compostable. Our mission is to serve as an example for what it means to be a pono business in Hawai'i, to reflect on the past while looking towards the future.”
Courtesy of Lilikoi Wear; Picture from their Rash Guard - Mohala listing
At Valia Honolulu, we believe in supporting brands that echo your values and appreciate businesses that etch their mission into every piece they create. For co-founders January Marie and Rodrigo Barros, their love and passion for the outdoors and sustainability led to the creation of Lilikoi Wear, an active- and resort wear brand that is “characterized by bright, limited-edition prints and inspired by the colorful culture of Brazil and the tropical lifestyle of the Hawaiian Islands.”
From tops such as rash guards, t-shirts and tanks, to leggings, dresses and maxi skirts, Lilikoi Wear’s pieces are made using Oeko-Tex® 100 Class I certified fabrics. According to their “Sustainability” tab, the yarns used to create the fabric for their pieces, called Amni® Soul Eco®, are made from polyamide nylon and elastane (spandex), equipping their collections with benefits such as UV Protection, odor resistance and antimicrobial properties.
The two specific fabrics Lilikoi Wear uses are FLUITY (CO2)® and LIGHT (CO2)®, the former being used to create their shirts, bra tops and resort wear due to its lightweight and silky feel, and the latter used for their leggings because of its “unparalleled light compression and support.” While these details will make any eco-warrior rejoice - just wait. There’s more: the fabrics are fully biodegradable. Within three years, the fabric will break down in the landfill.
Offering both prints and solids, Lilikoi Wear makes a wonderful option for those who like to make a statement while working out or having fun in the sun. Their biodegradable fabrics also make them another wonderful sustainable choice for those who would like to integrate an eco-conscious approach to their purchases.
Courtesy of Lilikoi Wear; Picture from their Clara Top - Luminous listing
Learn more about Lilikoi Wear by checking out their website and bio, shown below:
“Aloha! We are January Marie & Rodrigo Barros, Co-Founders of Lilikoi Wear. We created Lilikoi Wear from a passion for our active lifestyle here in Hawaii, where we love to play both in the ocean and on land. The sun here can be really intense, but we love to be in it, so we needed protection from the harmful UV rays. We also have a love for sustainability and making daily choices in our lives that support the well-being of our planet and all the beings that inhabit it. When we discovered the special eco-responsible fabric we use throughout our product line, which is also 100% UV-protective, we just knew we wanted to share it with the world!
Lilikoi is the name for the Hawaiian passion fruit. We have chosen this delicious, tropical fruit to represent our brand because it not only has a very long list of health benefits, its name also embodies enthusiasm and excitement.
At Lilikoi Wear, we believe that physical and mental health and well-being are intimately connected to living an active and passionate lifestyle. We hope that as you enjoy our products you are inspired to...
Characterized by bright, limited-edition prints and inspired by the colorful culture of Brazil and the tropical lifestyle of the Hawaiian Islands, Lilikoi Wear offers high-end activewear made with a new generation of “intelligent yarns” that support the wellbeing of the wearer and the planet.”
Courtesy of Kaira Active; Picture from their "About Us" tab
A brand we proudly carry, Kaira Active was created in 2017 by Hawai’i-born Hannah Tomita who, according to the business’s “About” page, took a leap of faith “to create a brand that made versatile clothing that was thoughtfully designed and sustainable.”
At the time, Hannah had been working in the fast fashion industry and felt ethically unaligned. What started as a passion project soon blossomed into something much more: “It’s been a joy and inspiration to see what people are doing in their Kaira Active!” Hannah writes, “...What you wear is an extension of you and our mission is to create clothing that facilitates all the adventures you take in your life. When you wear Kaira Active, my hope is that it makes you feel confident, sexy, and comfortable so you can be fully present in the moment. "
Currently based in LA and specializing in multifunctional, versatile workout tops and bottoms that are meant to take you from land to sea (and vice versa), this brand creates sunscreen and chlorine-resistant textiles made of ECONYL® yarn. This yarn is made from fishing nets salvaged by Healthy Seas and woven together by Aquafil with other discarded nylons.
Along with the Lana Reversible Top in the Black/Palm and Navy/Geo prints, the Rio Reversible Top in Black/Balm, and the Rider and Mira Leggings in Black and Navy (which we carry at Valia), Kaira Active also carries a variety of shorts (Biker and Nami) and tops (Isla, which we do not carry) in different prints and colors.
Courtesy of Kaira Active; Picture from their "Mira Leggings - Navy" listing
Check out Kaira Active’s bio below - and be sure to head on over and give them some love:
“Inspired by long beach days and sweaty studio sessions, Kaira Active aims to create products that facilitate outdoor adventure and minimizes environmental impact. Each product is thoughtfully designed to support any adventure such as surfing, hiking, and yoga, but still comfortable for lounging and wearable as an everyday staple.”
Courtesy of ‘IWA Athletic Company; Picture from their "Camo Color-block Collection"
What is your driving force? For the ‘IWA Athletic Company, it’s family.
According to the brand’s “About” page, the business is Native Hawaiian (Kānaka Maoli)-owned and draws inspiration from the ‘iwa bird (Great Frigate Bird); this indigenous bird is a symbol of strength, resilience, good fortune and, most recently, family. It is upon the notion of drawing strength from your ‘ohana and remaining resilient that this BIPOC-owned brand was formed.
Featuring sports bras, leggings, shorts, tops and hats in neutral and warm toned solids and patterns, the ‘IWA Company strives to provide the community “with quality fabric & designs at a reasonable price.”
For OG lovers and newcomers to ‘IWA Athletic Company, we have some good news: more products from them to come! Stay tuned!
Courtesy of ‘IWA Athletic Company; Picture from their "The NAHOA Ribbed Sports Bra - DARK ROAST" listing
For now, be sure to check out the story behind the brand by reading their full bio here and take a look at their awesome products:
“This Native Hawaiian-owned company was created because we wanted to spend our money creating products we were 100% happy with as well as motivate others to get out and live active!!
The logo of our company is the ‘Iwa bird, or Hawaiian frigate bird. To our family, the 'Iwa bird has always been a sign of Strength, Resilience, and good fortune. It wasn’t until recently that the ‘iwa bird became a symbol of Family. As a family, we decided to get 4 ‘iwa birds tattooed down our spine representing each person in our family. It was because of this that we decided to name our company
The ‘IWA Company!
Strength and resilience are attributes we should all aim for in and out of our workouts as well as our family always being a driving factor!
Our mission is to provide you with quality fabric & designs at a reasonable price!”