Hawaii's fashion industry is a tough environment to survive in unless you have connections to begin with, or work your ass off to network in Honolulu. I give credit to people who are able and willing to take on the challenge to get their designs and brand out to the public. I met a young lady who recently graduated from the Fashion Technology School at the Honolulu Community College (HCC), and she is already integrating her courses in her own business.
This is Antonette Jovellanos, a soon to be 23 year old designer who graduated from HCC in Spring 2017. Prior to college, Antonette was already pursuing fashion design at the Waipahu Community School for Adults for a few weeks during her senior year in high school. Aside from being inspired by Project Runway designers like Christian Siriano and luxury designer, Giorgio Armani, Antonette mainly looks up to her mother who's been a fashionista since the 70's. Their family moved to Hawaii from the Philippines in 2004, and understanding how stressful of a process immigration is, I can also see why Antonette looks up to her mother.
Being that I graduated in fashion, I understand the struggles of job hunting in Hawaii's fashion industry; you either have connections to begin with or work you ass off to network! While Antonette has her full time job bringing in stable income, she managed to start her own side hustle of designing chic clothing. Antonette wanted to create pieces that would transcend into the next seasons to come as well as have clothes that are easy to accessorize with. That's when she came up with the Christy Ann Off Shoulder Button Dress and the Leigh Set, which I took with me on a night out in town.
This dress is named after Antonette's sister, a business women who currently resides in the Philippines with two of her own boutiques in Pangasinan province. The big brass buttons you see are securely enclosed with machine made button holes. Usually I see off shoulder styles as just girly but I could see myself executing an edgy look if I were to have darker makeup, ripped fishnet stockings and boots. But for that day, I took a more feminine route with my basket woven handbag, choker, and Jimmy Choo heels (thrifted at Goodwill).
Leigh is one of the nieces in the family adored by Antonette. This two piece set has a bell sleeve top with an opening at the chest. Ties at the top and bottom are adjustable for anyone from small to busty. Luckily I don't have much going on with my tits so I didn't need fashion tape. The shorts that accompany the top come with inseam pockets and zip up from behind. Overall, I love this look for the fact that I can mix and match with my other clothes. With the opening at the chest, you can add a long T or Y necklace or perhaps a chain style bralette! I'm just getting glitz and glam sexy vibes! With the Leigh Set, I'm wearing a chunky fake pearl necklace with a pair of knee high gold boots with an intricate design (thrifted at Goodwill). If you want to go out for a Girl's Night with this look, I suggest using a clutch or a small side shoulder purse.
These two pieces are currently sold in Antonette's brand; Vellarosa. She created her brand name with her boyfriend and they thought to combine parts of their surnames; Jovellanos and Rosario, and came up with Vellarosa.
This name to me is about women who are captivating, confident and natty. It's what I want them to feel when they wear my designs. - Antonette Jovellanos
All the looks you see above are made with neoprene fabric, which doesn't wrinkle much so maintenance is easy; just wash then hang dry.
I'm looking forward to more from Vellarosa and wish the best for Antonette as she is working on new designs for the next season, and yes they will be based on more female figures in her family. Thank you so much Antonette for the opportunity to work with you. If you would like to shop her pieces online, go to www.vellarosa.com. To stay update for when the new collection comes out, follow her on Instagram as @_vellarosa.
Thank you Landen for being an amazing photographer! Follow him on his business Instagram as @genki_media for more of his professional work.
Also shout out to Cafe Lani Hawaii and Hawaii Voice KTV & Lounge for letting us come over to shoot at your venues! Landen and I also shot with some of Cafe Lani's breads and beverages, which were all excellent. I was especially amazed by the morning special the have where they serve unlimited bread and Siphon coffee for $9. The coffee they serve is the only type where I don't need to add cream nor sugar; it's surprisingly pleasant!
I'm glad to see more fashion designers in Hawaii. It's a tough industry but there are a lot of talented people here who just need more exposure. Do you or know anyone who designs? Hit me up in the comments!