INGENIOUS FASHION: When sustainability is woven into the business culture

INGENIOUS FASHION: When sustainability is woven into the business culture

INGENIOUS FASHION: When sustainability is woven into the business culture - ShopYWCA

Anna Kahalekulu, inspired by a rich lineage of weavers, has seamlessly integrated her passion for sustainable clothing and fashion into a beautiful homage to her heritage and culture.

Based in Waiehu, Maui, Anna's journey as a hula dancer, lauhala weaver, and Native Hawaiian reflects her deep connection to her ancestral traditions. After graduating with a fashion degree from UH Maui College, she founded Kūlua Studio Shop, not only to stay connected to her roots but also to actively preserve and promote Hawaiian culture.

For the past five years, Anna has been the driving force behind Kūlua Studio Shop in historic Makawao town, leading a dedicated team of artisans who craft garments and designs cherished by the Maui community. Her shop offers a range of products, from women's and children's clothing to aloha shirts and home goods, all crafted with a commitment to upcycling and minimizing environmental impact.

She has her products in several retail stores in the Big Island and Oahu, and has a thriving following in the online community.

Despite facing challenges such as the pandemic and Maui wildfires, Anna's resilience shines through. She navigated these obstacles with determination, even in the face of personal loss and displacement of her loved ones. Throughout these trials, Anna remained steadfast in her support for Maui's recovery.

In the wake of adversity, Anna leveraged online sales and community support to sustain her business, demonstrating her adaptability and entrepreneurial spirit. Her participation in events such as the Made in Hawaii Festival, and Made in Maui County Festival helped boost sales, along with the plight of small businesses on Maui. And she knew - by staying strong and not giving up, she would lay the groundwork for future growth.

Anna's story embodies the essence of Shop YWCA’s Maui Wahine Strong—a blend and thirst for excellence, yet compassionate, and with unwavering dedication to heritage and community. As she looks towards the horizon, the future holds exciting possibilities for Anna and her team, fueled by their shared commitment to staying genuine to their company culture by keeping things sustainable and honoring their heritage.


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