Featured Entrepreneur

Aloha Modern

Malia Kaaihue and Reyn Mukawa, Founders
Makaha, Oahu

What began as a passion project between two friends, Malia Kaaihue and Reyn Mukawa, turned into a full-fledged business – giving birth to Aloha Modern. The Hawaii lifestyle brand designs products from beach towels to shirts, inspired by the stars, ocean and landscapes from an island-rooted perspective.

Aloha Modern’s Story

Malia and Reyn met while working on development projects, where Malia is president of DTL, a Hawaiian strategy studio and Reyn is an associate at WCIT, an architecture firm who specializes in culturally influenced designs. They dreamt up the concept of Aloha Modern to tell the deep relevant stories of Hawaii in fun ways over pau hana drinks. The ocean remains a place of refuge for them so it just made sense to create this ocean lifestyle company. What started as a passion project between two friends has become a full-fledged business. As island people the ocean is what connects us with the rest of the world, and their vision is to share a little bit of Hawaiʻi with every design.

Sharing Hawaiian Stories

Aloha Modern is all about bringing true Hawaiian life into their designs as authentically as they can. This is why every design at Aloha Modern has a full story behind it and its inspiration! From Mahina, Pukoa, Hilo, Kaula, and so much more, every design gives a look into true Hawaiian culture that anyone could appreciate. Storytelling is an important way to pass on traditions, values and historical information through mele (song), oli (chant) or through olelo noeau, which are proverbs or wise sayings that hold and reflect the beauty, wisdom, and perspective of the Hawaiian worldview.

One of their first designs is pukoa, which pays homage to our creation as living beings. The Kumulipo tells us that the koa, sea coral, was the first physical being to be born. The pukoa, coral head, grew providing protection for the sea cucumber, sea urchin, barnacle and mussel. The coral was the first foundation for land, rising from the sea. The pattern describes the reef life who call pukoa home. From this story, we (as a community) can learn that life in the sea and life on land are connected, and what we do on land has a direct connection and impact on all organisms in the sea. He pukoa kani aina. A coral reef that grows into an island.

Why Diversity and Inclusion is Important to Aloha Modern

Aloha Modern's mission is to advance learning and discovery through storytelling. As a Hawaii-born lifestyle company, in one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse places in the world, it is Aloha Modern’s commitment to give voice to individuals and communities that reflect Hawaii’s diversity with the purpose to educate the community through storytelling.

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