News and reviews of made on Maui products and Maui-based companies and success stories. Also featuring island shopping guides

Posts tagged ‘Maggie Coulombe’

Maui-Based Clothing Designers

For a fairly small island, Maui has its share of talented clothing and swimwear designers and seamstresses :  Please add a comment below if you or someone you know should be added to this list!

Maggie Couloumbe Dress, Davis Chu Photography

Maggie Couloumbe Designs, Davis Chu Photography

Maggie Coulombe –  Cutting-edge women’s fashions 

If you are lucky enough to be wearing a Maggie Coulombe dress, all eyes are on you. She has dressed celebrities on and off the red carpet and her designs have been featured in Elle, Instyle and other fashion and celebrity magazines.  Inspired by her globetrotting lifestyle and the natural beauty of her Hawaiian home, Maggie Coulombe has created a collection that accents the essence of all women. Fashionistas from around the world frequent The Maggie Coulombe Store, located at Whaler’s Village in Kaanapali, Maui, click to shop online. 

Tamara Catz – Contemporary resort clothing, bathing suits, wedding and bridesmaids dresses.  

Born and raised in Argentina, Tamara started designing her own lines at age 18. After traveling the globe with her husband, professional windsurfer Francisco Goya, they decided to settle on Maui.  In 2000, she launched her line with immediate success, selling to boutiques and department stores all over the US and Japan. In 2005, Tamara opened her first boutique in Paia, Maui and two years later she launched her Bridal collection.  In 2013, a second shop was opened in Venice, CA.  Click to shop online.

Red Stripe Blue Floral Dress

Pink and Floral Skater Dress by Box Eleven

BoxEleven –  Handmade women’s clothing and accessories. 

A few years ago, Katie Browne combined a few of her favorite things, fabric, shopping and thrift stores, with a talent for sewing, and started creating unique women’s apparel and handbag designs, which she now sells under the label BoxEleven. On Maui, you can see her designs at Wings Hawaii in Paia, the Hui Noeau shop in Makawao, and on Hawaii Island at Pueo Boutique in Kailua Kona.

Wings Hawaii – Handmade and silkscreened clothes, jewelry. 

Wings Hawaii grew from a school art project at University of Hawaii into one of Maui’s most successful clothing lines.  Wings features a hand-sewn collection, which are designed and fabricated from scratch in their Haiku studio. They are also known for their hand dyed and screen printed line, complete with original artwork.  Wings also has their own jewelry line, each item handmade in the studio.  Visit Wings Hawaii in their beautiful flagship store in Paia, Maui, click for list of stockists, or Click to shop online

Ha Wahine / Cy Maui handpainted silks and Hawaiian designs

Featuring two distinct shops on Maui, Cy Maui in Wailea, at the Shops at Wailea, and Ha Wahine in Wailuku on North Market.  Cy Maui is known for their handpainted silk in flattering cuts and designs, and Ha Wahine, featured Hawaiian-inspired designs on rayon, with each item sewn on Maui.  Give them a call to place your order.

maui girl swimwear ashley camper photography

Maui Girl Fashions, Photo by, as featured in Mokulele in-flight magazine.

Maui Girl Swimwear – Designer boutique bathing suits, sporty mix and match bikinis, coverups

Maui Girl & Co.has been a landmark on the North Shore of Maui for over 30 years. Located in the heart of Paia, Maui Girl & Co., has been voted the “Best Bikini Boutique” of Maui for the last 5 years. Designer and boutique owner, Debbie Kowalski Wilson, has been designing and selling her pieces since the 70’s. She made the switch from vintage reconstructed pieces to bikinis in the early 80s.  Maui Girl Swimwear frequently makes appearances in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues, with a record 14 suits in the 2013 issue. Maui Girl suits are available online, but to make things even easier for mainland customers, the line will be looking to expand to stockists across the country in 2014.

handmade bikini maui hawaii

Pashey Bella’s Royal Bright Purple Lolo Tube Top and Bottoms

Pashey Bella –  handmade sporty swimwear and accessories

Pashey Bella was created by two water girls, born and raised on Maui. At the ages of 14 and 12, Talia and Tehani Gangini, learned how to make bikinis, which blossomed into a small business in 2007 called Manini Gangini Bikinis. Their goal is to design active swimwear that is functional and flattering.   In 2012, they changed the name of the company to Pashey Bella (Pashey being Talia’s middle name and Bella being Tehani’s). While they currently still make all their swimwear by hand in their 400 square foot shared room, this coming January 2014, Pashey Bella will be launching their first collection which will be made in the USA. The line will include all new designs and patterns, and will enable active women to have a functional, active swimwear with good coverage. In addition to designing swimwear, Talia Gangini Decoite started her own jewelry business at the age of 12, and in 2009 became the youngest designer to be featured on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue with a featured necklace.  She also travels the world as a professional stand-up paddler.  Click to shop online.

Girls Sleeveless purple teal dress

Purple and Teal Sleeveless Dress with Dandelion Pocket and adjustable ties

Bitty Bambu-  Modern, handmade children’s clothes and accessories

Bitty Bambu’s designs are influenced by the beauty of the natural environment, and the spirit of childhood.  Designer and seamstress Taryn has a background in Landscape Architecture, but discovered her passion for sewing not long after having kids.  “I enjoy making clothing that is beautiful, colorful, and playful – all the elements that I believe every childhood should be full of.”   Bitty bambu can be found in boutiques around the islands, on the mainland and as far as Australia, and on Etsy.

happy honu skirts

Happy Honu Skirts – Handmade in Hawaii

Happy Honu Maui – colorful, island-inspired children’s clothing and blankets.  

Happy Honu Maui is made in Hawai’i with creative dreams mixed with the aloha warmth of the islands. Maui author, painter, illustrator, designer, teacher, and mom Judi Riley has been known in Hawai’i since the early 1990s for her creative, one-of-a-kind and tropical colored Happy Honu Maui kids clothes and Tiki Tales books. What began as a book series that celebrates the Hawaiian islands, evolved into a whole line of island-inspired, quality, durable and comfy creations for keiki.   Judi Riley’s designs  also include silkscreened shirts, dresses and onesies, all hand-screened on Maui by A Make Believe Company.  Available in boutiques across Hawai’i and on the mainland USA, and click here to visit the website or the Etsy Shop.

In the Search for Maui Made Products at Whaler’s Village

I went shopping at Whaler’s Village during my annual trip to the west side, and figured I’d do a little ‘Maui-made’ research while I was there.   The first store we entered was called ‘Totally Hawaiian’, so I figured it was worth a shot.  It was certainly filled with higher-end souvenirs, home decor, wood carvings, and two large displays of buck knives right at the entrance.  I asked the shop lady how many of the items were made in Hawaii. ‘Most of them, but, not all of them.”  OK, so the Niihau shells are probably made in Hawaii.  Then I pushed on and asked her how many of the items were made on Maui,  and I got basically the same response. “Well, some of them, but not all of them.”  I mentioned I was working on a project about made on Maui crafts, and asked if she could point out the artists that are from Maui.  “The guy who makes the ceramic koi fish, this artist over here (pointing to the corner) and the lady who makes the Santas.  And probably some others.”  It’s not that she wasn’t knowledgable of the store, or trying to be helpful, but identifying artists and origins clearly wasn’t the point of the store.

As I walked around and picked up items, every single item had ‘Totally Hawaiian Gift Store” sticker with the phone number on the back.  At least they didn’t have ‘Made in Taiwan’ stickers, but you get the feeling that even if they were, they just took the stickers off.  Some items, like the soaps, which already came in nice packaging, had the stickers right over the company’s website.  Upon closer inspection, the soap company had actually changed the name on the front of the packaging to Totally Hawaiian.  I get it.  Someone on vacation gets some awesome smelling soaps from your store and when they get home and use it all up, they will look at the packaging, which they had luckily saved, and will call up your store to order more.

So, we moved on.  We walked by Cruise, a Maui Clothing company, and we dashed in at the last minute to look at a cute hat I saw in the window.  The store carries a nice selection of swimwear, hats, cover ups and resort-wear (including LeTarte, another designed on Maui company), but the entire center of the store has darling jewelry displays of ‘boutique’ designers, including many Maui-based jewelers.  Each display had a sign with the designer or company name, picture, and a bio.  The featured designers were Stellar Jewels, Rockabella Jewels, Designs by Fukuda (which I believe now goes by Kamera), Tiffany Chou (from Maui but now NYC-based), and Debra Mack.

I didn’t buy anything (I was already wearing my Eve Black earrings, which I get tons of compliments on), but I bet the store does pretty well with these displays.  Buyers these day like to know more information about what they are buying, not less. They want a souvenir from their trip to Maui that they wont also see at Myrtle Beach. Like an unnamed store in the same mall with dozens of vintage-style signs that all say ‘Kaanapali Beach’, but in Wailea they all say ‘Wailea’, and I’m guessing you can find ones that say ‘Key West’ and ‘St. Thomas’.

Two stores I didn’t venture into at Whaler’s Village but worth a mention are Martin and MacArthur and Maggie Coulumbe.

Blogger Tom Rowan recently visited the Martin and MacArthur workshop on Oahu and wrote a really nice post, but here’s a quick recap:

Martin and MacArthur, Hawaii’s longest running furniture making company, has been in business since 1961.   The company currently employs thirty craftsmen and everything is constructed here in Hawaii. Only the finest Koa wood is used, all from Hawaiian sources, with a goal towards sustainability.  With each piece of furniture sold, a new tree is planted. And the best part, if you are looking for a non-cliche souvenir, according to Tom Rowan “The company offers a full range of quality, high end furniture and there is not a carved pineapple or leaf in sight.”

For more on Tom’s visit, click here to view his post: or go straight to the company website.

Maggie Coulombe, one of Hawaiʻi’s premier couture fashion designers, moved to Maui in 1995 and launched her namesake clothing line and shop in 2000.  After more than a decade at 505 Front Street in Lahaina, Maggie moved to Kaanapali’s Whaler’s Village in the summer of 2011.

A Toronto native, Maggie studied fashion apparel design at Ryerson University in Toronto and graduated with the “Designer of the Year Award” in 1990.   With designs that mix a bit of tropics with a lot of luxe, Maggie has dressed celebrities on and off the red carpet including Halle Berry and Teri Hatcher. Her creations have been featured in Elle, Instyle, Glitter Japan, and Modern Luxury.

As stated on Maggie’s website,

“ If you are lucky enough to be wearing a Maggie Coulombe dress, all eyes are on you.”

I would add ‘And, if you are lucky enough to be on Maui, you can try on Maggie’s dresses at Whaler’s Village, but if not, you are lucky enough that Maggie sells her pieces online.’

The other fascinating fact about Maggie’s creations is that they are all ‘one size fits all’ and although I can’t attest to the fact that they will indeed fit anyone, a bit of research on her website shows that yes, although you can select the color and quantity, there is no choice of size, even on the bathing suits.

Hula Grill Kaanapali LemonadeAnd this recaps my day of shopping at Whaler’s Village, which was topped off by a beach-side lunch at the always impeccable Hula Grill.  I highly recommend the mint lemonade!

What’s your favorite shop at the Whaler’s?

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