Lately, I've been coming across up and coming fashion designers from around the world on Instagram; starting their own lines of clothing, jewelry, and other accessories. One unique designer in particular stuck out to me recently; she's originally from Hawai'i, but now based in Seattle, creating her own own line of up-cycled denim outerwear.
Born and raised on Kauai, Kaysha pursued fashion at a young age doing DIY projects, creating mood board with magazine cutouts, and illustrating garments. Being inventive at a young age (3 years old!), she would be at home, converting old T-shirts into crop tops and old jeans into shorts - one of the craziest styles she strutted proudly in, consisted of polka dot socks, striped shorts and a floral shirt - YAS honey, do you thang! ;)
Kaysha attended Kamehameha High School, where she took on the fashion club and locked down the position of club president, embracing fashion more seriously. In one of her milestone moments in fashion, she successfully coordinated her high school's 2nd annual fashion show, 'Eclectic'. It was after this event she realized her potential and later continued her passion up at Washington State University to study fashion design and merchandising. With her BA in apparel, merchandising, design and textiles, Kaysha is taking on her own fashion line like a #bosslady up in Seattle.
Kaysha Designs is a line of used denim outerwear with a twist of modern and vintage vibes. You'll find each jacket is unique in their own way with 1) a variety of Hawaiian inspired prints, and 2) detachable fur collars for that extra flare. The goal with her designs is to reinvent garments into a way that hasn't been done before, which I love because one of my goals is to create outfits using pieces I wouldn't normally find at the mall.
The idea of using outerwear came up when our young fashion designer moved to Pullman, Washington for school; introduced to 40 degree weather (and below), chilly winds, snow, and consistent rainy days. Obviously being from Hawai'i, this fashionista needed to make a few adjustments to her wardrobe. Whenever she would go shopping, Kaysha would quickly be drawn to the outerwear section in a store, but she felt that something was lacking in her shopping experience. Missing home, she wanted to invite pieces that would identify her, as well as promote Hawaiian culture. So she took it upon herself to create this line, including the two styles you see in this story!
In her first collection, Kaysha curated denim outerwear garments found at her local Goodwill, and then other pieces (including the Hawaiian print fabrics) are sourced from wholesalers in the fashion industry. Although the intention for Kaysha Designs was to target millennials, other generations are on board with this style as well. As her first line was designed for women, you can expect Kaysha's next collection to also include toddler jackets! How cute would that be - Mommy & Me jackets! The release will be dropping on her website in February, so stay tuned for when Valentine's Day is near! :)
Big shout out to Kaysha Mata Peahu for collaborating with me on this story, and on successfully launching her own line, as well as promoting Hawaiian culture through up-cycling! I'm looking forward to her new line as well as more of her future collections to come. For updates and outerwear inspiration, follow her Instagram @kayshadesigns, and shop www.kayshadesigns.com.
Another big shout out to Reed Hopperstad for shooting with me in Kaimuki and Kaka'ako. Fun, but not really a fun fact: we did this photoshoot afternoon the false missile threat that occurred on Saturday, January 13th - so blessed that we're alive! Check out more of Reed's photography on his Instagram @hop_on_in_america and his website.
To see the rest of the shoot, scroll down further for the gallery.