Tiare Hawaii: clothing that goes the distance—and beyond vacation
While the dresses from Tiare Hawaii pack small, they make a big statement. The collection, noted for bold prints and bright colours, are designed with extra flair setting them apart from the other floaty frocks one may find at a beach boutique or hotel gift shop at a beach destination. Under the direction of owner and designer Jane Hoskins, in fact, the brand’s origins fall into the very definition of travel clothing. She founded the brand in Hawai‘i, based her business in San Diego, and has the fabrics crafted in Bali using centuries-old, traditional dyeing techniques.
In appealing to the global traveller (herself included), Hoskins developed Tiare Hawaii to transcend the tried-and-true concept of the aloha dress through a broader range of prints and silhouettes that fall into a one-size-fits-most that effortlessly go from beaches to bridal showers, weddings, and luncheons.
Lucire Rouge: While aloha wear has existed for years, what makes your approach to resort fashion modern?
Jane Hoskins: I lived in Hawai‘i and this is where the brand was born. I draw my inspiration from the islands and from the islands’ flora, fauna, sunrises, sunsets, the shades of greens and blues in the ocean, and from island life. The inspiration is brought to life through our hand-drawn prints and through our hand-dyed pieces. It is important to me that every piece is artisan made for the modern woman. Tiare Hawaii pieces bridge the gap between aloha wear, beachwear, resort wear, and contemporary fashion. Our pieces are made to be worn anywhere, from the beach to brunch to the farmers’ market to dinner or a party. The lightweight fabrics also make for the perfect travel companion to take on any adventure.
What are the biggest challenges involved in developing your unique (and modern) patterns and colour ways?
Our key goal is to make the modern woman feel beautiful, confident, and comfortable. Mass production isn’t, and we prefer to take a handmade and artisan-made approach to creating each garment. We use a variety of approaches to creating our prints and dyes. We discuss what inspires us with our graphic designer, who hand-draws our prints. Once the print is created, a large traditional screen is made for each colour way, dyes are mixed by hand, and the printing is done by hand through a traditional table screen-printing process.
We also create batik fabrics using a traditional process involving using a large stamp that is dipped in hot wax and stamped onto the fabric. The fabric is then hand-dyed and the wax stamp resists the dye. Then the wax is removed, creating a batik print on the fabric. While our approach isn’t the most efficient, the art behind the garment and keeping the brand artisan-made will always be more important to us than taking a fast fashion approach.
How did you find your niche as a resort wear designer?
I am an island girl and a traveller and focused on creating pieces that I wanted to wear on the islands and on my travels. My group of my closest friends are adventurous travellers as well. Some are surfers, some are artists, some are yogis, some are designers, some are musicians, and we all share a passion for travel and immersing ourselves in culture. I wanted to create pieces for us to wear on our adventures and I also wanted to create pieces for those that share our passion for island life and travel.
Through word of mouth, buyers on the mainland started reaching out to carry the brand in their stores and then it just sort of organically grew from there.
As sustainability is an important hallmark for your brand, how do you vet and select your suppliers?
I spend time with our manufacturers to see that working conditions are inspiring, uplifting, safe, and sustainable. I was excited to start a fully sustainable collection in 2021 called Tiare Hawaii Naturals. The clothing is 100 per cent sustainable and the fabrics are unique and special. We have achieved making garments from banana, pineapple, eucalyptus, mulberry bark, and bamboo. The collection is vegan and biodegradable and it was what I consider the most important collection that we have ever launched.
You have worked some nice tailoring into your dresses and outfits with sportswear details (as opposed to hanging loose on the body)? Why are figure-flattering silhouettes so important in your approach?
My approach and goal are to always create a garment that is both comfortable and flattering on many body types. Each silhouette has strategically placed details that allow the dress to contour to a woman’s curves. I also love to create pieces that are fitted in some areas and feel flowy and whimsical in others.
You have mommy-and-me styles not just for daughters but for sons as well. Are there any other offshoots to the collection in development?
Absolutely! Our mommy-and-me styles have been a huge success. I am continuing to expand our family collections. I’ve been working on new men’s and boys’ aloha shirts and prints and colour ways that the whole family can wear. They make for really cute family photos. We had so much fun having a male model walk the runway for Tiare Hawaii at Hawai‘i Swim Show this year! I just want to keep growing collections for the whole family.
The look books also feature some of the dresses used in a destination wedding scenario. Besides being a great option from a destination wedding and from an economic standpoint, why would a customer want to consider these dresses for a wedding?
It has been amazing and such an honour to see brides incorporating Tiare Hawaii into their wedding. Our dresses are a fantastic option for a destination wedding, a boho wedding, or a beach wedding. The dresses are romantic and whimsical and they really are a great option from an economic standpoint. We are always able to customize dresses for the bride and we love making dreams come true.
We’ve also made bridesmaid dresses for many bridal parties, robes for the bride and bridal party that can be worn while getting ready for the wedding, and we have so many great options for the bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, bachelorette party, and more! We are flexible, and it’s honestly really fun to help brides in creating the perfect look for any occasion surrounding their wedding.
As the dresses are crafted in Bali, how are you supporting the local community there above and beyond providing jobs?
We do provide work and jobs to artisans and tailors. While we donate to many small charities, our brand’s main initiative is a global initiative. We plant one tree for every purchase made through an organization called One Tree Planted. Trees are planted where they are most needed on our planet. •
To view the collection and purchase fashion for your next vacation, visit tiarehawaii.com. Also available at Anthropologie, Shopbop, Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, and Revolve.