DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Cynthia Lockhart and her daughters, Alyssa, left, and Alanna Manley show off designs from their Pretty Me line at the Kahala Kids boutique in Kahala Mall. Alyssa, 9, and Alanna, 13, design the clothes.
A girl's desire for comfy clothing inspires her to create a fashion line with her mom and big sister
Mother's Day brings out hundreds of mother-daughter "twins" to tea parties, brunches and dinners. While the idea of matching outfits is often Mom's idea, the feeling is often mutual.
"When girls are 6 or 7, they want to be twins with Mom," said Cynthia Lockhart. "They say, 'I want you to dress like me.'"
Lockhart is happy to oblige, given that her daughters Alanna, 13, and Alyssa Manley, 9, created a clothing line for themselves, which has expanded into women's wear.
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
The sisters show off a colorful line of sweaters. Prices range from $18 for a girl's tank top to $66 for a girl's dress.
If 9 seems rather young to be starting a clothing line, the idea took root when Alyssa was 3 and new to Hawaii. Growing up on the East Coast, Alyssa suffered from eczema over 90 percent of her body, which "hurt really bad," she said. She longed for clothing in soft fabric that wouldn't irritate her skin.
After moving here six years ago, her eczema cleared but continued to flare up whenever she visited family on the mainland.
"Since she was little, when she sets her mind on something she has to do it, and with fashion she had a vision," Lockhart said.
With guidance from Dale Hope, known for his longtime association with the Kahala brand of aloha wear, and a pattern-maker, Pretty Me was born. Both sisters love to draw, and it's Alanna's floral design that forms the Pretty Me logo.
The line uses soft fabrics such as silk interlock that's light to the touch, and Lockhart, who has her own video production company to run, said that all decisions behind the line are her daughters'.
Over the weekend, the sisters presented their designs in a pre-Mother's Day fashion show Saturday at Kahala Mall and Sunday at the Kahala Resort.
"They did fittings on their friends, so they learned how to deal with that. I know nothing about fashion, but I thought it would be a family learning experience and a great way to teach them about the value of a dollar and running a business.
"What's funny is that Alyssa tells me what to wear when I go out. She'll say, 'Mommy, that's not working.'"
"My mom actually has a great fashion sense, but she sometimes has choices between clothes, and she'll ask us which dress she should wear. I always want her to look great."
Alyssa, whose style is conservative, said the line features basic pieces she enjoys wearing most, such as feminine skirts, dresses, tank tops and spaghetti-strap tops.
"I wanted to be a fashion designer at 6," she said. "I told my mom, and she said I had to go to college and get a great education. So I want it to be big. Then we'll get some money to go to college, and I also want to give some to charity."
The girls continue to introduce new ideas, readying a line of T-shirts suitable for summer, under a separate label, 3 Moods of Me.
As for brands Alyssa likes, it's a "don't go there" topic because, face it, the subject of favorite labels can be as revealing as one's politics, religion and income.
"My friend told her friend what her favorite was. So my friend got mad because her friend didn't like that brand, so they sort of got mad at each other," Alyssa said. "It's just weird."