Archive for the ‘Fashion’ Category

Q&A with Overmind

September 15th, 2016

All photos courtesy Caleb Taosaka

All photos courtesy Caleb Taosaka

It’s rare that something really catches my eye on Instagram. Restructuring the feed and doing away with showing posts in real time was what killed the enjoyment of scrolling for me. It’s just so confusing to see something going on 16 hours ago. Now it’s all just too little too late.

So when I was able to catch some posts of Caleb Taosaka’s clothing line Overmind it was like finding a needle in a haystack. It appeared to me once, then twice, then I couldn’t stop lurking for more of his designs. First it appeared on a few different friends in the skating community, which is already a pretty stylie group. Then I saw the brand at Mori by Art and Flea. The designs stood out like a punch in my face from the cosmos.

I had to find out who is behind this brand.


Turns out I didn’t have to look too far. Caleb Taosaka works in Chinatown at Blank Canvas. He’s been turning out designs for the past three years and between working, skating and spending time with his girlfriend and business partner he’s infiltrating Honolulu city with fascinatingly creepy and interesting art.

Full Name: Caleb Masaru Taosaka
Age: 25
Where Did You Grow Up: Born and raised in Waipahu on the island of Oahu. That rolls off the tongue
Where Did You Go to School: Grew up in Waipahu but went to Moanalua High School. I then attended UH at Manoa and graduated with a bachelor's degree in studio art in 2014.

Name all that are involved with Overmind and their role(s):
Pretty much just Lissa Hardbarger and myself. She ships out my orders and runs errands for me when I'm at work. She's also my girlfriend. I make the designs for the shirts and instagram/website stuff. I also print and label all of the tees and hoodies at my job. I have a few buddies that help me shoot photos as well. Maxfield Smith, Jordan Lum, and John Oliveira to name a few.


Tell me your vision:
We aim to fascinate and disgust through visions of otherworldly fantasies from Elsewhere.

What was your first run of clothing or event?
My first run of tees was a small batch of hand screened tees done in my friends backyard. Did three different color tees of the same design. I had a layer of glow in the dark ink that I remember being really stoked on.

How did you get into design/art/fashion?
I grew up with overactive imagination. Had my head in the clouds much of the time. This led to pursuing an art degree in college, where I further nurtured my creative glands. Sometime during my third year at UH a friend of mine named Soohee taught me Photoshop while we ate at Curry House, which helped to push me into more computer based graphics and artwork.

I never considered myself a "fashionable" person, however some of my favorite possessions growing up were graphic tees. Something about wearable imagery was really interesting to me, which eventually turned into me printing the things I made on t-shirts and other things.


Do you collaborate with anyone if so who?
So far the only collaborations I have done were photo projects with a few friends. Maxfield Smith, Jordan Lum, and John Oliveira are the primary people who shoot photos for me from time to time. I have a few collaborative projects in the works at the moment, but as I said before it's hard to find the time and drive to do these things. It sometimes takes me months to finish a design. I'm very neurotic about what I make.

How do you overcome the stressors of pulling things together and executing them?
I think that college was a good training ground for dealing with the pressure to execute plans and perform. I think of each season release almost like a final exam that comes around twice a year. I like to brainstorm/relax for months in between seasons and then have a few months binge-creating graphics until the new season releases. This keep my stress levels relatively low for most of the year and condenses the pressure into a few months. Probably not recommended or how it should be done, but it works for me.

I am especially moved by your wolf design. Can you tell me more about this masterpiece?


I call the wolf design Warg. I had been given the idea to make something like that by my friend Lance when I was interning under him for Contrast Magazine. At the time my Adobe Illustrator skills were very limited and I wasn't able to create something that I was satisfied with. A few years later I gained the skills necessary to bring that creature to life and released it under Overmind. Sorry Lance. I love you.

I get a bit of a beyond Earth vibe from your artwork. Are you a spiritual person?
I don't really consider myself to be an overly spiritual person. I believe in entities and things outside of our plane of existence or understanding, which I guess can be a form of religion. Anything not understood by human science can be deified into a spiritual belief or movement I suppose. Psychedelics have taught me that all things are possible and probable within the mind. All the science fiction and fantasy I ingest also definitely plays a role in my subject matter.

How did you come up with the name Overmind?
People always ask me if I got the name from that video game Starcraft, which I've been told is the name of one of the alien characters in the game. I have never played it, but if I were a video game kinda guy I probably would. I got the idea for the name from a sci-fi novel I read by Arthur C. Clark called Childhood's End. In it the Overmind is a interstellar hive mind type entity that is made up of the consciousness of various ascended alien races. Basically these demon-looking aliens come to Earth representing this being and usher in an era of peace in order to guide humanity to enlightenment and absorption into the Overmind. Pretty neat.


I also read that it is the name for a level of spiritual consciousness in a yoga-based philosophy that is one of the highest a normal human can achieve. It is referred to as the plane of Gods and a Cosmic Consciousness, a form of consciousness that cannot be achieved by an ordinary person.

It is also the name of one of the levels within the eight-circuit model of consciousness, an ideology of transhumanism. The level is also referred to as quantum consciousness, or an awareness beyond our limitations of space-time, and can sometimes be accessed through near-death experiences or strong doses of psychedelics.


Where can people buy your stuff?
The best places to find my goods other than online are A'ala Park Boardshop, a skate shop located in Chinatown, and Mori by Art + Flea, a store currently at Ward Warehouse. APB was the first location to stock my stuff, which I am very grateful for. Bought my first skateboard from there in 2005 and became friends with the owner Chad and workers through the years. Truly a good place with good dudes. I met Aly, the owner of Mori, years ago at an Art and Flea event she was running and once I had started making stuff she offered to stock my products in her store. I've been lucky to have these opportunities while my brand is still relatively young in the scheme of things.


Any last shoutouts?
Shoutout to all my friends who support me in everything I do. Also Maxfield Smith, Jordan Lum, John Oliveira, and anyone else who helps me take photos. Also Daniel Ng of Blank Canvas. He helped shape me into a more responsible person and who pretty much single handedly taught me how to use Illustrator. Also my girlfriend Lissa for being a wonderful being.


The Campbells: Just Doing Their Part

August 8th, 2016

Waikiki was rocked in June for a colorful collaboration between Chinatown retail neighbors Barrio Vintage and Roberta Oaks, who could easily be the coolest kids in that district, alongside the Human Imagination.

These are the places you can shop when you don’t know how to shop. Pretty much anything you pick up from their carefully curated racks could be your new uniform.

The show was a good excuse for me to show some friends the new SurfJack Hotel; the new hipster sanctuary on the mauka side of Lewar’s Street in the new developing Waikiki. If you haven’t been there yet, I highly suggest creating an occasion to have dinner at Mahina & Suns. It’s worth it.

This particular night I was there was also indeed worth it.

I finally got to meet Simone! Brandon and Nicole Reid (Manifest Hawaii)’s new daughter and just see so many faces I had only been lurking online for the past few months.

It was a treat to see everyone stepping out in their styliest oxford shoes, 60’s and psychedelic inspired dresses and shirts and of course their favorite Roberta Oaks vintage aloha shirts or something off the rack at the carefully curated vintage boutique Barrio Vintage.

One of my favorite looks to see anywhere in town is whatever model, minister and musician Leelu Campbell is wearing. You would know her if you saw her. She takes personal style very seriously but is also so kind and approachable.

I first saw her and her husband Greg Campbell when I happened to be at one of those Lux parties at Trump and was feeling a bit out of place in my $20 dress. My jaw dropped to the floor at their effortless style and tall model-esque frames. I saw them and was like “Hi. You two are the styliest people here, can we be friends?” Before I could hate myself for being shallow, taken away so much by their appearance, I discovered that they are great people, having dedicated their life to cultivating their own creativity and making an impact in this world.

Little did I know at the time, I was now hob-knobbing with the one and only L.E.E.L.U. (Learning Every Experience Loves Universally) and Quality Music. A highly creative power-couple that’s low-key living their best lives in Honolulu.

Skip ahead a few years and Greg Campbell (also known as “Quality Music”) is turning up major at my pool party at the Marriott making a promo video for his sand-rimmed fly af wayfarer shades featuring his wife's vocals. I still have those glasses he gave me that day.

That was 2012.

In 2016 they are still cruise speed ahead, having created an organization called "Just Doing Our Part.” A networking specifically for industries that offer service to their community. (I know right!)

After seeing them at the Barrio Vintage x Roberta Oaks “Psychedelic Swell” show I stalked them online until I could get Leelu to tell me more about this.

"We believe that offering service to your community reinforces compassion and empathy within humanity.” Leelu wrote back to me in an E-mail. "Just Doing Our Part identifies community needs and provides resources through its network partners as assistance.”

"We believe we are creating a coalition of people who value 'Getting It Done!’"

As someone who’s always considered themselves a “connector” I can appreciate them starting this so very much.

One of their first partners is the local underground radio show you may not even know about called Sandy Scoops. You might not know about it NOT because you’re not “underground enough,” it’s only been around since November of last year.

"Quality recognized the enormous amount of underground talent locally in Hawaii and decided to create a radio station to share the scene with the world.” Leelu wrote to me.

"As an audio engineer for over 12 years he has not only had the opportunity to develop an ear for music, but work his passion into a major broadcasting opportunity.” Quality also makes himself available to engineer live or studio sessions.

"With continued community support we expect to be a major source for anyone looking to find out more about the underground music scene in Honolulu.” Leelu wrote.

Another partner working with “Just Doing Our Part” is Leelu’s personal website which is a great window into her life experiences. She is truly an artist, but also a writer, musician and mother. I dare you not to fall down the rabbit hole of her music and sultry vocals. If you're a regular at the Motown on Monday at Dragon Upstairs you may have seen her crooning on the mic with her husband close by providing his own music. Together, they are a living example of the phrase "Power Couple" which I use to describe two people who are fully committed to their own success and happiness and have found a way to inspire and encourage each other. This is how you do that.

Watch out for these two.

It's all about sole

October 22nd, 2014

WAYNE AGSALDAWayne (on right) has serious business shoe game


Wayne (on right) has serious business shoe game


Special to the Star-Advertiser

I noticed not one but two of the younger male sales reps at work wearing a specific type of shoe to work that really stood out. It was a nice brown leather with a white sport sole I later learned was the Cole Haan LunarGrand business collection.

“They’re hipster, that’s why” my rep told me. “And the Nike sole makes them super comfy.”

I saw them on Hypebeast but they got ripped to shreds in the comments section.

“If you’re in the ‘business’ of looking like a tool and have never heard of any other shoemaker besides Cole Haan, then sure,” someone posted.

“Are these Sketchers Shape-ups?” another user posted.

I wasn’t hearing it though. Everyone I saw wearing these shoes looked damn stylie. It’s like when you go to a work function and you spot someone sporting a Roberta Oaks shirt. It’s the male fashion anthem of the late 20s-early 30s generation of cool. I’m digging it.

The deepest I get into shoe or sneaker culture is the Nike SB Classics or maybe a dunk if I’m in to the colorway, but I thoroughly enjoy seeing men take so much pride in their gear. These leather shoes are fantastic.

Upscale menswear brand Publish Brand is back in Hawaii this week and they are bringing a hailstorm of stylies and music industry greats that will blow our city away on Sunday. For free.

They have teamed up with Vans to bring the 2014 all-weather fall Brenton Boot. While we may not be so concerned with the fall weather, it’s a shoe that can brave any temperature or atmospheric condition, which after this past weekend, we all very well know, is needed. Publish Brand still considers itself fairly small even though it's been very successful with its classic styling that is meant to last a lifetime. They have had various collaborations including Honolulu’s Kicks HI and New York’s Reed Space. Their clothing is pricey but perfectly tailored, timeless and elegant. They have a lot of pride in this boot and have spared no expense to do a huge release party.

“This is a sensitive one.” They posted on their Instagram last week. “We hold the project with Vans super close to home, as growing up in Southern California, we have worn Vans our whole lives. We didn’t know that one day we would land a project with Vans.”

“This just breaks all barriers and walls for those who do not believe. Love and believe in what you do and one day it will happen.”

COURTESY PUBLISH BRANDSalva's remix of Kanye West's "Mercy" with RL Grime is played out more than the original in the nightclubs


Salva's remix of Kanye West's "Mercy" with RL Grime is played out more than the original in the nightclubs

Sunday’s release party will feature top talent from both New York and Los Angeles.

Salva is a record producer, engineer, songwriter and club DJ who has created crazy club masterpieces that are usually preferred over the original by club DJs. He is a very influential artist in the music world and one who has been working in the industry since he was 18. His unique method for combining multiple genres of music to create club bangers that are truly his own is celebrated by many.

Dam Funk is still blowing my mind from his Boiler Room set last year at the Treasure Island Music Festival after-party but he’s been regularly killing dance floors with his funky electronic and hip-hop sets, pulling out all of the classics and making us remember so many tracks we love from way back when.

Just Blaze is huge; he could be one of the greatest hip-hop producers of our time. His songwriting credits include everyone. His DJ sets are known to literally change people’s lives. At least that’s what they were saying after his appearance at SXSW this year.

COURTESY PUBLISH BRANDJustin Smith, better known as Just Blaze, has produced songs for an A-List of hip-hop's top talent including Eminem, Jay-Z, Cam'ron, Rick Ross, Kanye and many more


Justin Smith, better known as Just Blaze, has produced songs for an A-List of hip-hop's top talent including Eminem, Jay-Z, Cam'ron, Rick Ross, Kanye and many more

Kicks HI’s own DJ Delve gets to open for all of this. I would be nervous for him among these heavyweights but I remember him mentioning that the management for a recent headliner he opened for told him to dumb it down mid-set. If there’s anyone who can hold their own for an incredible show like this it’s him.

Vans Otw X Publish Breton Boot In-store Launch W/ Dam-funk

Presented by Vans OTW x Publish Brand

» Where: Kicks Hawaii 1530 Makaloa St. Honolulu HI 96814

» When: 1-3pm Saturday, Oct. 25

» Cost: Free

» Info: PHONE ORDERS ACCEPTED: 808.941.9191

» Info:After Party Sunday, Oct. 26, at The Republik 18+ Free with RSVP


Christa Wittmier has chronicled Honolulu nightlife since 2004. She is senior marketing director at Young's Market Co. of Hawaii and executive director of music for Pow! Wow! Hawaii, and also helps promote the popular Bacardi Pool Party on Oahu. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

Red carpet season arrives

October 8th, 2014

STAR-ADVERTISER / 2013The annual Eurocinema Awards Gala, one of Honolulu's biggest red carpet events of the year, returns to Waikiki on Nov. 8.


The annual Eurocinema Awards Gala, one of Honolulu's biggest red carpet events of the year, returns to Waikiki on Nov. 8.

If Honolulu has a red carpet season, it’s definitely coming up in the next few months. With the Hawaii International Film Festival, Hawaii Fashion Week, Hawaii Fashion Month and all of the typical holiday functions, now is the time to shine.

Some people look forward to getting dolled up. I dread it. Especially in this weather; pulling on nice garments and putting on makeup that is already melting off my forehead by the time I get to my chin, only to be greeted by people sizing me up and taking photos that will be posted everywhere (with or without my consent) isn't exactly in my top 10 list of things I love.

KAVEH KARDANI tried. The author with Blow Out Thursday beauty bar coordinator and super-connected woman about town Angel Deihl.


Presented by AMP Industries and The Makeup Studio School

» Where: eleven44, 1144 Bethel St

» When: 6 p.m. Thursdays

» Cost: $3; ladies free

» Info: (808) 260-7788,

I should be grateful to have a life where this is the norm, but as hard as I try to force myself into dressing and acting fancy, it just feels unnatural. When the cameras start clicking I try to clear my head and think happy thoughts. If it comes from the interior, it usually will project nicely on the exterior. Usually!

This is what I was thinking on Thursday as I tried my best to figure out a cute, model-ish pose while the bright lights kept popping and one of Honolulu's top beauty photographers, Kaveh Kardan, snapped away. I hadn’t seen Kardan since he starred in local cult feature film “Ecila,” but have seen his work all over social media as he worked with a lot of models I am friends with (or lurk).

I was on a couch in a raised VIP cabana at eleven44 in downtown Honolulu for Blow Out Thursdays with the beauty bar organizer and The Makeup Studio School founder Angel Deihl, doing my best to look sexy. It was a bit easier to feel sexy after having my makeup done by local makeup artist Kecia Littman. Still, after looking at Kardan’s screen I only liked one out of the 15 or so photos he took. I just don’t know where to rest my arms and legs. I give it up to professional models; it’s definitely not easy.

The Blow Out is a weekly beauty bar hosted by Deihl and Amber Halterman, who work with eleven44’s already sophisticated and stylish interior to create an environment where ladies can treat themselves to complimentary makeup and hair along with free professional photos with their pau hana drinks. They pair the service with a multifarious roster of resident DJs who bring a fresh musical direction that's different from what is typically heard in bars and clubs.

Beguiling duo Omia (Taylor McAlpin and George Reeves), Partius Monsterous and Matte Blac (formerly known in The Standard days as The Britt) are the residents closing the night with house and electronic music after rotating guests do their thing .

I noticed last week it was one of those ladies nights that had a nice assortment of gentlemen as well, many of them dressed to the nines. It was very refreshing to see on a weeknight in Honolulu.

I also realized much later — after seeing how good my friend’s impromptu headshots turned out — this is pretty damn killer service to offer people for free. I like that it starts right after work on a Thursday, so it's totally possible to get dolled up before you go out on the night many refer to as the last good night out before amateur hour.


Christa Wittmier has chronicled Honolulu nightlife since 2004. She is senior marketing director at Young's Market Co. of Hawaii and executive director of music for Pow! Wow! Hawaii, and also helps promote the popular Bacardi Pool Party on Oahu. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

The Pineapple Clan

August 14th, 2013

Farmer's Market Hawaii L-R: William Robertson, Keoni Payton, Sean Paul Wilkerson. (Image Courtesy of  @Orrinhaloa)

Farmers Market Hawaii, from left: William Robertson, Keoni Payton and Sean Paul Wilkerson. (Image Courtesy of Orrin Nakanelua)

I might be one of the last people in Honolulu to get to know Keoni Payton, but that’s the best part about our scene — it really is never-ending.

While I’ve been chipping away at my day job and seeking out the new and the fabulous at night, Payton has built his second lifestyle brand from nothing and raised it with his team to celebrate one year of business in the bustling retail district around Ala Moana Center.

Payton’s artwork is already quite familiar to me, as I see his distinctive tiki pretty much everywhere — at block parties, festivals, concerts (both EDM and reggae) and just about everywhere T-shirts or hats are allowed. His tiki has become iconic and it’s only a year old.

Kaeo and Keoni Payton (Christa Wittmier)

Kaeo Payton, left, and Keoni Payton. (Courtesy Christa Wittmier)

I stopped by his Farmers Market Hawaii's anniversary party earlier this month and was warmly welcomed by their team. You could feel the energy of their "Endless Summer Ali’i" release still present even though the massive crowd of fans that had been waiting in line for hours had already purchased their merchandise and left.

“This is when we get to rage,” musician Kekai Namauu said, draping me in the ʻahuʻula towel that was part of the pack against my will.

I cringed at the thought of wearing the bright yellow and red towel, designed to represent a feather cloak donned by Hawaiian royalty. I didn't want to disrespect the culture. I’m not Hawaiian.

“Please wear it” they said, taking a photo and offering me a drink. Their kind and genuine acceptance of me, an outsider, made a huge impact and really said a lot to me about their brand and way of life.

“This design concept was to incite and educate our rich culture and instill a deeper pride of what Hawaii’s history was about,” Payton wrote on the store’s blog. “If it can spark a conversation and it makes you feel comfortable sharing your personal mo’olelo (story) with a stranger and a friendship can come of it I have accomplished what the inspiration of this design was based on.”

The author draped in an ʻahuʻula, as depicted by Farmers Market Hawaii, and an original version on display at Bishop Museum. (Courtesy Christa Wittmier)

After I got home, I did some reading and found Hawaiians considered the feathered cloaks to have great mana (power) as the birds the feathers came from lived very high in the mountains close to the gods. Those who donned the feather cloaks were of very high status. The best of the best.

I thought about the experience all day and into the evening as I walked around Bishop Museum during the annual Bernice Pauahi Bishop Awards Dinner and found myself standing before an actual ʻahuʻula. It was the same color and design that inspired Payton — only the feathers were real. It was completely breathtaking.

While Payton pleads with supporters not to look at him as a role model, he continues to share his creativity through his words and artwork and has grown a very large and loyal following. He uses his influence to teach; his message is a positive one coming from formidable life experiences and self-reflection. His humble beginnings and dedication have kept everything in perspective. Something from nothing, as they say.

When I asked him what his biggest lesson learned this year was, he said simply, "The day dreamers are still King!"

Good to know.

Follow the amazing content the Pineapple Clan put out on their website or Instagram, and grab a towel today from their retail shop before theirstock is gone.


Christa Wittmier has chronicled Honolulu nightlife since 2004. She is senior marketing director at Young's Market Co. of Hawaii and executive director of music for POW! WOW! Hawaii, and also helps promote the popular "Bacardi Pool Party" on Oahu. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

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