Talk about thinking outside the box, Hawaiian Airlines is actually putting its seats back in unique style. Soon fashionistas will be sporting stylish outfits and accessories made from seats covers from Hawaiian Airlines’ rejuvenated B717 planes. The carriers began retrofitting its Neighbor Island fleet last March with a modern redesign featuring lightweight main cabin seats from Acro Aircraft Seating Ltd. Following the remodeling of the cabins, it formed a partnership with HonCC and The Cut Collective to repurpose large amounts of unused seat material as a fun and creative way to demonstrate social and environmental responsibility. “Fashion and design have always been deep-rooted in the Hawaiian Airlines brand,” said Alisa Onishi, director of brand management at Hawaiian Airlines. “This project allows us to give back to our local community through education in a very unique and original way.” “Each day, our flights take many travelers on the vacation of their dreams throughout our islands,” Onishi added. “Now, our unused seats are supporting a different kind of dream for up-and-coming designers in our community.” The airline is opening an exhibit of the products starting tomorrow, Nov. 20, at HONOLULU Fashion Week. The collection was created by graduates of Honolulu Community College’s (HonCC) Fashion Technology Program and participating designers from The Cut Collective + Creative Lab’s Fashion Immersive Program welcomed the airline’s “Cabin[to]Couture” project as a platform to showcase their skills using exclusive seat materials.
“I got a call from Hawaiian Airlines asking if we had any students or alumni that could do an upcycle challenge, and I thought, with what? They explained that student designers would be given first and coach class seat covers to create wearable clothing,” said Joy Nagaue, professor of the Fashion Technology Program at Honolulu Community College. “I accepted – our students can do anything! I’m overjoyed they’ve been given this great opportunity.”
Among the designers asked to create wearable fashion and accessories from 19 First Class and 23 Main Cabin seats and headrests were:
· CHAI LIM, 2013 HonCC Fashion Technology Program Graduate – his garments are inspired by the notion of air and flying with an airy, flowing short skirt paired with a clean, structured strapless top. Lim works at Tori Richards, a resort lifestyle clothing line, as a Gerber pattern technician. “It’s an honor to be selected for this challenge!” said Lim, who viewed Hawaiian Airlines Cabin[to]Couture project as a way of giving back to the community and the program that helped him pursue his passion.
· JACKY LAU, 2013 HonCC Fashion Technology Program Graduate – he was stimulated by the shapes within the seat covers and created a futuristic tail jacket paired with fitted cargo pants lined with pocket details. “I’ve been intrigued with design due to my interest in Cosplay,” said Lau, a sales associate at Macy’s.
· RANDY ORIBELLO, 2014 HonCC Fashion Technology Program Graduate – who created a s womenswear “patchwork” bustier layered with strips of main cabin seat covers paired with a short skirt and peplum. “I describe my design style as historical vintage chic. My pieces are modern, wearable and have structure. For this project I have constructed a corset mixing both the first and the coach class seat material,” said Oribello, who works in the costume department at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa on O’ahu’s west coast.
· CHANTERELLE CHANTARA, Fashion Immersive Participant – Chantara called on her memories of the 2014 HONOLULU Fashion Week, which presented 85 years of Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant uniforms. “My vision is to incorporate the fabric into sophisticated garments that bring fresh ideas while evoking Hawaiian’s fashion history,” she said.
· EMIKO MIYAZAWA, Fashion Immersive Participant –her design is a durable, easy access fanny pack with flaps that fold over the front. “I was inspired to make a modern style fanny pack using the leather seat covers, from the need to always be hands free when I’m traveling,” she explained.
HONOLULU Fashion Week Presented by Hawaiian Airlines, which is free to the public, runs Nov. 20-22 at the Hawai’i Convention Center with the opening of the HONOLULU Fashion Week Marketplace. All the upcycled pieces will be on display throughout the week as part of the airline’s Cabin [to]Couture exhibit.