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Kaypee Soh's clothing line can be found at his Ward Warehouse storefront

Oct 15, 2015

Cut and Soh: Kaypee Soh Debuts New Fashion Line

At his Ward Warehouse retail space and studio, Kaypee Soh sits behind his desk, a pencil in his hand, and looks closely at the mountain of fashion sketches that stand before him.

In just about a month, he'll be showcasing his new line of women's clothing at a series of runway events for Honolulu Fashion Week. In the weeks leading up to the show, he's taking the utmost of care to ensure that every stitch is perfect. But if there's any stress harbored about the debut of his upcoming line, it isn't evident. He knows what he needs to get done and exactly how to do it. Slowly, he pulls back his chair and a slight smirk spreads across his tanned face. When it's time to premiere his new line, he'll be ready.

In the design world, Kaypee Soh has built himself a formidable reputation. Born in Malaysia, Kaypee left his family and homeland behind to attend graphic design school in the UK. Upon graduating, Kaypee was swooped up by a local design agency in London, a move that marked his introduction to what would become a stellar career. After working in various high-level positions around the world for clients that included IBM, MTV, and American Express, in 2004, Kaypee moved to Hawai'i and started his own business. His new venture, which included his design services, would quickly curtail into a retail location and his own home accessories line.

While his work as a designer has been heralded both internationally and in the islands, it's his latest ambition—designing fashion—that's garnered the latest buzz. "I've been wanting to introduce fashion into my designs for a long time," he said. "When Honolulu Fashion week asked me to be a featured designer in 2014, I knew it was time." As you would expect from Kaypee, the line was hit.

In November, Kaypee will be previewing his 2016 spring/summer line in two shows for Honolulu Fashion week. He'll also host a private show, "Over the Rainbow," held on December 2, 2015 at the YWCA Laniakea.

According to Kaypee, the inspiration for this year's line came from the countless rainbows that we're privy to in the islands. "I find inspiration everywhere, but on an early evening walk along the beach at Ala Moana, a light rain presented a double rainbow in front of me. Living here, we see rainbows almost on a daily basis, but with this particular one, I noticed how the colors in the rainbow appeared to be reflecting off the water and the plants around me. It was something I hadn't seen or noticed before. I tried to create this same feeling by using varying tones of color on color in this line."

In addition to his unique approach to replicating nature's palette, you'll also find a women's ready-to-wear collection and accessories, leather handbags, tees, and a men's fitted aloha shirt line as well in this collection.

"I have references from the late '60 into the early '70s but with a twist toward a modern relaxed pacific style for this collection. This season is about the chic and modern urban woman and her everyday life," says Kaypee. "I'm mixing fabrics from printed denim and chambray to chiffon with layers of color on color to create weightless draping fabrics that flow; it's almost like walking through a garden with a rainbow above reflecting color on color."

Back in his studio, it's been a long day of work for Kaypee. As the day comes to a close, Kaypee takes a moment to reflect on the upcoming show. Lucky for him, with Hawaii's natural beauty serving as his muse, to refocus and to hone in on his inspiration, all he has to do is look outside.

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