Thursday, January 13, 2005


Chyarm belts can cinch your waist while adding a custom touch to your wardrobe.

Career a ‘Chyarm’
for former car tech

Thomas English is trading in his slippers to establishing a whole new look.

Chyarm Belt launch party

Where: TJ's Sport's Bar and Grill, 600 Kapiolani Boulevard
When: 1 to 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Jan. 21
Admission: Free; event is for ages 21 and older
Call: 630-5484

No, it wasn't a New Year resolution inspired by the many makeover programs on television. Instead, he recently left his career as a master technician for Mercedes Benz -- something he had done since the '80s -- to become a full-time fashion designer.

"I was a T-shirt, shorts and flip-flops sort of guy," he said. "Lately, I've had to improve my wardrobe. I need to dress the part of the position I'm in now."

Putting his technical skills to work, he's developed "Chyarm" belts incorporating elasticized fabric, buckles and a charm. He was inspired by a friend who had problems finding pants that fit.

"They were just a little too loose around the hips and she was in need of a belt," he explained, confessing, "Unfortunately, I was unable to come to her rescue."

The woman created her own solution, using ribbon to tie two of her belt loops together to gather up the waistband. But the experience caused English to wonder why a belt needs to circle the entire waist to be functional. He imagined a simpler solution existed, coming up with his Chyarm belts, along with the slogan "Add a little Chyarm to your life."

What he came up with was a short piece of elasticized fabric to which he attached two suspender loops to wrap around jean loops and give the belt a decorative look. He handed out dozens of prototypes to women who worked at his favorite hangout, TJ's Sport's Bar & Grill.

They loved the creations, so he went to work manufacturing his new accessories.

The belts are designed to fit a standard belt loop that is 1-1/2 inches wide with a 5-1/2 to 8-inch space between loops. They may not fit all garments. At $19.99 each, they can be ordered online or purchased at Photoworld Hawaii on Beretania Street. English is also marketing his Chyarm belts in Los Angeles and other West Coast cities. The belts will be available for $14.99 at a launch party at TJ's on Jan. 21.

Belts can be personalized by adding a chain, earring or charm to add novelty or coordinate pieces of their wardrobe. A lobster-claw clasp in the belt's center can hold any charm or accent piece a wearer chooses.

The belts come in red, khaki, white, pink, navy blue and black. Charms vary on individual belts; some have hearts, butterflies, bees, etc.

"It's the versatility of this creation that makes it appealing to those of all ages and backgrounds," he said.

He admits switching careers hasn't been easy. The end product is a "culmination of many sleepless nights," he says.

No doubt many women will be grateful he took the chance.


For more information, visit www.chyarm.com .

E-mail to Features Desk


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