Everything Begins at Dawn
Erikó Suzuki was practically a veteran in Hawai’i’s tight-knit fashion industry when she finally opened her first store, at Dawn, in 2016.
Before moving to Hawai’i, she attended fashion school in Japan and got her start in retail. After her move to the islands, she continued her tenure in the fashion industry. Erikó worked as a brand manager and buyer for multiple clothing stores in Honolulu, gaining experience in as many aspects of the industry as she could. She oversaw production, assisted in merchandising, and even helped out on the retail side. After opening a new storefront in Waikīkī, which involved concepting and store design, she knew that she had the experience and know-how to launch her own brand and boutique. A new day had dawned.
Inspired by barefoot walks on the beach, the comfort of tropical simplicity, and her own penchant for a minimalistic and modern look, Erikó founded at Dawn in 2016. Finally, she had a space and a brand to call her own. Erikó’s brand and boutique, located on the ground floor of Anaha in Ward Village, reflects her sophisticated femininity and confident nature. As co-owner and designer, she has tapped into her own style to inform the at Dawn brand, which is known for muted soft colors, off-whites, and flowing natural fabrics that offer a relaxed fit and feel with a refined look. In addition to her original lines designed in Hawai’i, Erikó has curated other fashion brands from all over the world that compliment her seasonal lines.
“at Dawn carries natural fabrics in all-season styles, handmade items, and carefully curated home items and fragrances,” Erikó says. “We also carry hand-crafted items from local artist and designer as wells.”
When Erikó launched the brand, she capitalized on a niche in the Hawai’i market for natural fiber clothing, like linen and cotton. She also realized that her customers, a loyal mix of both residents and visitors alike, were also looking for curated and stylish home goods, bath and body products, aromatherapy, and even ceramics. A new niche was beginning to emerge.
“I find new brands and designers mainly through craft fairs and showrooms all around the world,” Erikó says. “I also find new similar styles through Instagram, but I prefer to choose items for the store in person.”
Erikó embraced the holiday season this year and designed a new holiday collection featuring a few of her favorite new pieces, such as the Puff Sleeve Wrap Dress, the Back Twist Dress in short and mid lengths, and essential pieces like the Puff Sleeve Top and Easy Shorts in natural and black colors. “Right now, I like our in-house Back Twist Mid Dress for the holiday season and items from Corrin Ceramics, which I found while traveling in San Francisco,” Erikó explains. “I especially like to use their mugs to drink my coffee.”