Dec 08, 2016
There's Something About Cameron
There's something about Cameron that you just can't shake.
It's hard to say exactly what it is about her that makes her so special, but there's something there. She's unique, passionate, and excited about life. She's eager to meet new people, taste new things, and experience all that the world has to offer. We've all met Cameron, someone just back to the Islands from a surf trip on a remote Indonesian island, already gearing up for her next great adventure. Cameron inspires us to step outside of our comfort zones, to smile more, to see and do the things that we dream about when we close our eyes at night.
As it turns out, Cameron isn't simply a metaphor for life in the Islands, she's an actual person. A person with such a vibrant zest for life that she serves as a muse for the Honolulu-based clothing line that bears her namesake, Cameron Hawai'i. As a resort line geared toward women with a penchant for adventures in paradise, Cameron Hawai'i has built a respectable following since they launched in 2007, with dozens of wholesale accounts across the state and on the mainland.
"Yes, Cameron is a real person," says Dane Ikeda, who oversees much of the day-to-day operations for the brand. "She serves as our muse for the store. We draw a lot of our inspiration from her creativity and the way she lives. Our own designs are all sparked from her personality and things that reflect her."
With the real-life Cameron's persona serving as their inspiration, Bobby Ikeda (Dane's uncle) created Cameron Hawaii in 2007. For nearly ten years, Bobby grew the brand from an initial run of tee shirts to nearly 30 wholesale accounts. The merchandise is made in the USA and the brand strives to collaborate with other locally owned lines as much as possible.
As it turns out, apparel design is in the Ikeda family. Bobby's father and grandfather helped to pioneer garment dye—a process where clothes are dyed after they are produced, leaving a soft feel—from their factory in Kalihi. "My family has been in this business for a long time," adds Dane with a laugh. "I'd say that this line of work is in our blood."
On the heels of his growing wholesale business, Bobby Ikeda made the decision to take the next step and created Cameron Hawai'i's first brick-and-mortar store in South Shore Market earlier this November. To keep pace with the demands of his growing business and unveiling the company's flagship storefront, Bobby brought on his nephew, Dane, to help run the store and grow the brand. Dane, who's originally from Hawai'i but has spent time living in Mexico and the Northeast, has been working day and night to ensure that the new space is running smooth. Dane's smitten with the community that've become a part of and the new customers they're attracting.
It's been a lot of work getting to this place. But it feels really good to be here at South Shore Market. To be growing. I have to say, all the late nights and long days working are made that much sweeter when a new customer walks through the front door and finds something that they love.
In the future, the company has plans to expand by creating more of their own signature merchandise, including colorful tees, bags, and gifts, but they're also looking forward to new ventures like home ware as well. And of course, they'll continue curating the store with a host of local brands that fit with Cameron Hawai'i's unique aesthetic. "As the brand continues to grow, I'm really looking forward to collaborating with other companies in the Islands and showing our customers new lines and products," says Dane with excitement. "We love to support local companies, it's who we are as a brand and I'm really looking forward to the future."
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